12.18.2013

Bayou Bars


These delicious cookies are pretty much pecan pie in bar form. They're from, of course, Great Cookies, and named "Bayou Bars" by the author because they contain some classic Southern dessert flavors- pecan, brown sugar, and coconut.

Mississippi Bayou Bars, from Great Cookies by Carole Walter
For the Crust:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups flour, spooned in and leveled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

For the Topping:
1 10 ounce package sweetened flaked coconut (about 3 and 3/4 cups)
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 large eggs
1/2 cup dark corn syrup (dark is important, for both color and flavor)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups broken pecans, lightly toasted.

Prep:
Heat oven to 350. Toast pecans for 7 minutes, until lightly brown. Cool.

Tear a large piece of aluminum foil and fit it over a 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 1 inch jelly roll pan. Generously butter the bottom and sides.

Make the crust:
Melt butter in a saucepan, and set aside to cool to tepid. Add flour and sugars, blending with a fork until large crumbs form.

Distribute crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan, using a flat bottomed glass to spread evenly and flatten. A small offset spatula will help you work the crumbs into the corners.

Bake for 20 minutes, until top is set and edges brown. While baking, make the topping.

Make the topping:
Place coconut in the bowl of a food processor, and process for 15 seconds, until finely chopped. Set aside.

Strain together flour and baking soda. Set aside.

Place eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Stir in corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture, then blend in coconut. Don't overmix, or too many bubbles will form. Pour mixture over hot crust and then sprinkle the pecans over the top.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until the edges begin brown and the top feels set. Place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around sides of pan to loosen edges. Using a sharp knife, make seven cuts across the narrow side and seven cuts across the wide side, to cut into 64 bars. Let air-dry on a cooling rack before storing.

Store airtight, between sheets of wax paper, for two weeks. These cookies freeze beautifully, just defrost at room temperature.

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