White Chocolate and Pecan Bars (Preparation Time: 50 minutes, Makes: 40 square bars)

It has been more than six months since my last blog post. Procrastination and excuses (e.g. crashed laptop, travel to India, loads of work) had got the better of me. But luckily I have friends who motivated / coerced / threatened me to get back and thanks to them I am back to blogging my favorite recipes! (Sargam, special thanks to you!)

These White chocolate bars have a small story... which goes back to last Halloween ('13) when I had hosted my friends (and their kids) for dinner. One of them, Ammara, brought these chocolate bars along with her. At first, I thought of them as some sort of "Mithai". But, once I took the first bite, it was like what they show in TV commercials - my eyes closed on their own as the magic of these bars worked on all my senses.  I was transported into some heavenly place for the next couple of minutes. The bars were creamy, fudgy, chocolate-ee, nutty...oh! Simply divine. All of them were gone within minutes.

I had these same White Chocolate bars again at another friend's (Afsha's) baby shower a few months later and again, they were simply irresistible. This time I HAD to bake them. 

It's a recipe that Afsha had perfected and now works well for me too! These bars are great for snacking. They have a shelf life of 8-10 days and so worth the effort of baking the large batch (don't believe they would last as many days!). 



Ingredients (for the bar)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (could substitute with walnuts)
Ingredients (for the topping)
  • 1½ cups white chocolate chips (I use Nestle Premier White Morsels) - one could use coarsely chopped white chocolate, or any other chocolate
  • ½ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (again, could substitute with walnuts)

Steps
  • Preheat oven to 350 deg F / 180 deg C

  • Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan

  • Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and set aside

  • In another bowl, beat the softened butter with sugar until light and creamy

  • Add egg and vanilla essence to the mixture of softened butter and sugar, and beat more till all the ingredients have mixed well

  • Now add flour in small batches and mix thoroughly (the batter looks similar to that of cookies, i.e. not runny)

  • Fold in toasted pecans

  • Now evenly spread the batter in the greased tin using a spatula

  • Bake for about 25 minutes (baking time could vary; easy test - look for dark brown edges, and insert a knife in the center, if it comes out clean the crust is done)

  • Immediately sprinkle the chocolate morsels on the hot crust (chocolate won't melt properly on cooled crust should you delay sprinkling it)

  • Once it begins to melt (about 4-5 minutes after sprinkling), evenly spread the melted chocolate using a spatula

  • Then sprinkle (lightly press, if required) the coarsely chopped and toasted pecans all over, ensuring they stick well to the white chocolate

  • Allow the bar to cool for 6-8 hours before cutting it into squares

  • Now that you have waited so long, do not wait any longer! Enjoy the fruit of your labor without feeling guilty, and eat 2-3 squares before offering it to friends and family!!!
Tips
  • Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature

  • For toasting pecans: preheat oven to 350 deg F / 180 deg C, place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them for 15 minutes (turning once), until lightly browned and fragrant

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