Monday, February 13, 2006
Mondays with Maida - Pecan Festival Bars
Page 109 in the old book / page 148 in the new book
These Pecan Festival Bars had a firm, crunchy texture that I liked very much, but I thought the taste was a little flat. A little additional salt or maybe even some cinnamon might have perked them up. Even though I wasn't completely won over, these cookies went quickly and were generally well received.
What was unusual about these cookies was the baking time - one hour and fifty minutes at 250 F. I don't know if the purpose of cooking them this way is to develop the texture or enhance their flavor. The ingredients for Brittle Peanut Bars from a few weeks back are quite similar - they call for the same amounts of butter, flour and sugar - but the Brittle Peanut Bars bake for about 25 minutes at 375 F. I would describe the texture of the Pecan Festival Bar as crunchy, but less candy-like than the Brittle Peanut Bar.
For the second time in this book, Maida specified that the brown sugar should be strained. When I first encountered this instruction (in the recipe for ButterscotchWalnut Bars), I gave it the old college try, but was completely unsuccessful. Perhaps there is a strainer out there that is suitable for straining brown sugar, but mine isn't it. Unlike the Butterscotch Walnut Bars, these cookies are prepared with a mixer, so straining the brown sugar seems an unnecessary precaution.
Here's the panel...
Suzanne: "The cookie was a little messy to eat. It breaks into a million pieces when you bite into it. I loved the crunchy, nutty texture. It had just the right amount of sweetness. It was worth going off my diet for this cookie. Rating - 4.0"
Denny: "Good, but would be better if they were Black & Gold**. They were a little too brittle for me, but still good. 3.0 this time. Rating - 3.0"
Laura: "Crunchy, nutty, DELICIOUS! Rating - 5.0"
Phil: "These crunchy and denser bars while not brittle tended to work out those back molars. Buttery with moderate sweetness. Rating - 3.8"
Overall rating by the panel - 4.0
** Denny is still reveling in the Steelers' Super Bowl win.
Next week - Pecan Chews