I told you about these beer and bacon pecan bars by the Beeroness on facebook last week. Since I don’t drink beer for religious reasons, but since I couldn’t stop thinking about these amazing cookies, I decided the only thing I could do was make my own.
It was important to uphold the complexity of flavor that the stout in her recipe provided though, so I opted to make the entire recipe with pure maple syrup, and not use brown sugar or corn syrup.
Now, I’m not gonna lie to you—these things ain’t cheap. By the time I finished buying all the ingredients for these—Niman Ranch bacon, pure maple syrup, maple sugar, and pecan halves—I had spent at least $20. So, you might want to bring those marshmallows to your bake sale or even those s’mores bars, and keep the maple bacon bars for yourselves.
You can probably tell from my picture, I’m still a little challenged in getting the cookie part of a pecan bar to stay on the bottom. For whatever reason, the goo always mixes with the cookie. So when you make yours, I wish you the best of luck, but please don’t yell at me if yours come out sticky on the bottom. They’ll still taste good. I can promise you that.
maple bacon pecan bars
for the crust:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (12 tablespoons)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
for the filling:
7 strips bacon, cooked and crispy,* and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup pure Vermont (or Canadian!) maple syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple sugar (available at health food stores, but call first to make sure they have it)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan, so that the ends of the paper come up and hang over the sides. Hold in place with metal binder clips or bulldog clips. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, and salt until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add in the flour, and mix on low until the mixture is just incorporated. Pour out dough and press into the bottom of the prepared pan, so that it comes up about a 1/2 inch around the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool.
2. Spread the bacon pieces and pecan halves over the crust. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, and pour over the pecans and bacon. Bake for 20-25 minutes more until the center of the bars is just set. Remove from oven, cool completely, and freeze for about 20 minutes. Use the edges of the parchment paper to pull the bars out, place on a cutting board, and slice.
* To make bacon, preheat the oven to 400, and place a cooling rack in a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spray the cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray. Place strips of bacon on the cooling rack, brush with maple syrup or sprinkle with brown sugar (optional), and bake for 18-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bacon and the desired crispness.