Friday, December 17, 2010

Pecan Fest 2010! Going Nuts With Pecans part 1 Cranberry Pecan Bars!

   When I moved into my new house I was informed that the tree in the back yard was a pecan tree.  Pecans are among my favorite nuts.  When I come across a container of mixed nuts I usually hunt for them.  I love the toasty flavor and delicate texture.  I thought they had to be roasted or processed, to my great delight I discovered they where edible once they began to fall from the tree.  Immediately I was in the backyard scavenging!  I hope the people who live behind me know it's a pecan tree because I swear she gave me the strangest look as she took out her trash.

 
    
     Not knowing what to do with the pecans beyond the obvious pecan pie, I posted some comments on some foodie forums for some ideas and I had a wealth of responses.  Most of the responses where different ideas on how to candy and or season them and eat them plain.  I was looking to test myself a little though.  Don't get me wrong I'm planning on trying some of them still, and I have a great idea for a Christmas day candied pecan that I'm bringing to my brothers for Christmas Day.  But for my "Pecan Fest 2010"(hopefully to be an annual tradition!) I was looking for a sweet baked dish.  A savory dish of some kind.  And something totally out of my box, a soup.  After hunting the recipes down that fit my criteria of culinary demands it was time to harvest.



     Bella and I headed to the backyard one day after I had gotten off work and set to the task of collecting the fruits of our harvest.  Well I did all the gathering she mostly ran laps around the yard and played her favorite game of "Keep Away" with her bone.  She loves it when I chase her around the yard!  The process was more time consuming than I had thought.  I felt like a squirrel getting ready for the long winter.  Scrutinizing every nut to be sure I had the best of the bunch to hold me out through the season.  After the pecans where all collected the cats went nuts, pun very well intended, over them.  They spent hours batting them back and forth, and Gidgette finally discovered another use for them.  Apparently they make a comfortable bed!

     The first recipe I decided to do was the Cranberry Pecan Bar.  This hit home with me right away.  When I lived in New Pine Creek Oregon my neighbor made the best Lemon Bars.  To my joy this is a similar recipe, lacking the gooey goodness of the Lemon Bar.  Fresh pecans and Craisins made up for that in my mind though.  And I was right.  The result was amazing.  And I had fun stepping outside my box and baking.  I may have worked at a bakery for five years but I was mostly customer service.  Ironic. 
Your gonna need:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup craisins
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
powder sugar

Here's what you do:

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mixing bowl.  Electric mixer.  Beat butter until smooth.  Add half the flour.  Add the brown sugar, zest, egg, baking powder, baking soda, and half of the orange juice.  Beat thoroughly and gradually add the rest of the flour and orange juice.  Add crasins and pecans, mix until evenly distributed.

Spread into and ungreased 11x7x1.5 inch baking dish.  Dose not need to be exact measurement.  Place in center of oven and bake for about 25 minutes.  Keep in mind the shorter in length or width or vice versa is going to affect your baking time. 
 
Test center with a toothpick. If it comes out clean your Cranberry Pecan Bars are nearly finished!  Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.  
When they have cooled you can add the powdered sugar.  Cut and serve!  Sit back and  enjoy the feeling of feeding friends and family.
Cranberry Pecan Bars done!
 


               This was an enjoyable experience for me.  And as I was writing this all kinds of ideas popped up in my head for different toppings.  Maybe even some candied pecans?  Let your mind go wild! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my new followers. Your support means a lot to me! 
 Love Food, Live Life!
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4 comments:

  1. These bar cookies look super tasty, and I must admit that I'm bit jealous you have a pecan tree right in your back yard! That's wonderful :)

    If you're looking for a good sugared pecan recipe, I absolutely love this one:http://ahungryspoon.blogspot.com/2010/12/nuts-for-sugared-pecans.html

    We make it every year during the holidays. Have a great weekend!

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  2. It is so great to grow your own pecans. These bars look terrific.

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  3. Tahnks for the feedback! I appreciate it! And thanks for the link "Hungry Spoon"!

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