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Nana’s Creole Pecan Cake Bars

November/December 2010

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These decadent pecan date bars are a bite-size alternative to holiday pecan pie.



READER'S COMMENT:
"We love this recipe so much that friends and family want to try it many other ways. So far the original is king but replacing the raisins with tart dry cherries, adding one cup of semi-sweet chocolate chunks and reducing the pecans to 2...
Nana’s Creole Pecan Cake Bars

Makes: 4 dozen bars

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature (see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 cup raisins, preferably golden
  • 1 cup finely chopped pitted dates

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a large (17-by-12-inch) baking sheet with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Add eggs one at a time and beat until creamy. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. Add half the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until well combined. Add cinnamon and nutmeg; stir until blended into the mixture completely. Add pecans, raisins and dates to the rest of the flour mixture. (Coating the dried fruit and nuts helps distribute them in the mix.) Stir the flour-coated fruit and nuts into the batter. Do not overstir. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared baking pan with a spatula. (Coat the spatula with cooking spray, if necessary, to make spreading easier.)
  5. Bake for 45 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the sides. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Invert onto a large cutting board and remove the parchment. Cut into 48 squares.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Store airtight for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. | Equipment: 17-by-12-inch baking sheet, parchment paper
  • Tip: To bring an egg to room temperature, set it on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge it (in the shell) in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Per bar: 132 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 18 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrates; 9 g added sugars; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 43 mg sodium; 90 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 carbohydrate (other), 1 1/2 fat


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