Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Shortbread Bars

My friends and I are a little...strange. We sit down once a year, and watch all of the Lord of the Rings movies back to back to back. All 11 hours worth.

I won't go into too many details about our numerous traditions, but there are many, ranging from beating on a popcorn tub with knitting needles when someone dies, to counting how many times people fall, to laughing at all the stupid things Frodo does. (He's kind of a whimp!) We all have our favorite characters and scenes, and our least favorites, usually revolving around bugs and giant spiders...

My brain can only take so much LOTR. Seriously, 11 hours in the same room staring at the tv (or your knitting, we're big fans of crafts while watching!) and I turn into mush. Thus, I resort to the kitchen. I usually help out with lunch and dinner, but I decided to go for a little something different this year. We'd made some "lembas bread" a few years ago (the elvish bread that's supposed to fill you up on a bite or two, unless you're a hobbit, for those of you slightly less obsessed!) but I wanted something a little more exciting. And flavorful.

Thus, "lembas bread on crack" was born. Or for every other day of the year, chocolate caramel pecan shortbread bars. Yeah, not a very exciting name, I know, but highly descriptive!

We have an average of two people watching at any one time
So I baked these, they were pretty easy, then I set the troops loose to eat them. Seriously, I think we had a herd of hobbits take over the kitchen or something, because they were gone in literally 30 seconds. Either that, or someone hid them. Because they were so tasty.

These are pretty similar to my caramel nutella crumb bars. In fact, I got them from the same blog. I liked the other ones a little better, but they're both good. These ones are more chocolatey and nutty, while the other ones showcased that magical homemade caramel. Both tasty, just depends on what you're going for!

I know the burning question in your mind this holiday season was "How do I feed my herd of hungry hobbits?" There you go, now you know.

Promise, it's not cat barf
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Shortbread Bars
From Buns in my Oven

For the shortbread:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

For the pecan topping:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 egg
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup caramel sauce (ice cream topping, I used about 2 or 3 tbs caramel apple dip instead)
1 cup chopped pecans

In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together the flour, sugar, and butter until it is a coarse, crumbly mixture. Dump the mixture into an ungreased 8x8 baking dish and press to form the bottom crust. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
While the shortbread is baking, beat together the egg, brown sugar, caramel sauce, and pecans. Set aside.
After 20 minutes remove the shortbread from the oven and sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Wait 1-2 minutes for the chocolate chips to soften and then spread them gently with an off-set spatula to cover the shortbread crust. Pour the pecan mixture on top of the chocolate.
Return to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the pecan mixture is set. Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges to prevent the bars from sticking to the side of the baking dish. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

1 comment:

  1. Why did you make these during the one part of the day when I wasn't there?