January 27, 2013

Beer & Bacon Pecan Bars

With all of the healthy recipes I've been publishing, it is high time I made something, well, not. I want calories. I want deliciousness. I want artery-clogging goodness. A note to the reader: stop here if you want to eat healthy. These bars are dangerously delicious, and you won't be able to resist making them. They are filled with everything you could possibly want, like gooey caramel, shortbread, beer, nuts, and, of course, lots and lots of bacon. These aren't prissy little treats with gossamer threads of spun sugar atop light, fluffy mousse. No, these are man bars.

The bars have lots of components. There's the crust, a really simple brown sugar shortbread. Pulse it, press it, bake it, done. After I make the crust, I make the bacon. It really isn't necessary to make it this soon, but this way you get a snack while you slave over the stove making the rest of the recipe. I cook off six strips cut into bits (for the bars) and a couple more strips (for the chef). I drain off the fat, but I definitely don't throw it away because I toast the pecans in it. Yes, you read that right. Pecans toasted in bacon fat. Just chop the pecans, add them to the skillet after you take out the bacon bits, and stir over medium heat until fragrant. Meanwhile, make the beer reduction. I put the beer in a pot over medium heat and let it reduce down until it's half the original volume; just be careful that it doesn't spill over the edge. It's the same amount of flavor but much less liquid, so the bars will be gooey but not too liquidy. I add butter, cream, corn syrup, and lots of brown sugar to the beer reduction, and then I stir in the pecans and pour the whole thing onto the crust. After a nice sprinkling of bacon, I bake the bars until set and chill them until I can cut them.

Nobody can resist this dessert. It is a little complicated, but it is certainly worth it. They are rich, decadent, and full of flavor; sure to please anyone.

2 Sticks + 2T Butter
2 Cups Flour
2 1/4 Cups Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Cup Stout
2 Cups Chopped Pecans
1/2 Cup Corn Syrup
1/4 Cup Cream
2 Eggs
6 Strips Bacon, Diced

Heat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13" pan with parchment.

Pulse the flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor until combined. Add 1 stick and 2T butter; pulse until small bits remain. Add up to 1/4 cup water until it begins to stick together.

Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 12 mintues or until golden.

Cook the diced bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Drain the bacon and keep the fat. Heat the fat in the skillet and add the pecans. Toast, stirring often, until fragrant. Cool.

Heat the stout in a small pot over medium heat; reduce to half the original volume. Add the remaining butter and whisk until melted.

Combine the stout/butter mixture, corn syrup, and cream. Add the remaining brown sugar, then whisk in the eggs. Fold in the toasted pecans.

Pour the pecan mixture onto the crust. Sprinkle with the bacon bits and bake for 30 minutes or until almost set.

Makes 24
Recipe Adapted from

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