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

Nutrition Facts


Anne said...

Cathy, these sound absolutely delicious. (And look that way, too!) And I have *so* many pecans.. hmm...

Stephanie said...

And I'm with Denny!

Joycelyn said...

hi cathy, these sound ridiculously good - i am down to my last lot of pecans bought in bulk from christmas - now i know exactly what i will be making! thanks, as always, for the inspiration

Cathy said...

Hi Anne - thanks! You can never have too many pecans!

Hi Stephanie - I'm not sure when or if Denny is going to get back to normal... he has yellow tape all around his cubicle barring entry to all but Steelers fans and he has changed the background color of his email to black... Are all Steelers fans like this?

Hi Jocelyn! I know you'll be putting your pecans to good use!