Usually I love to bake. People are always making baking out to be more difficult than cooking savoury food, but to an extent, I would say for beginners, it's usually easier. I say that because baking is an exact science. Meaning you following directions to a "T," and there's no vague language that says things like "add salt to taste." I'm a beginner, I don't know what my taste are let alone what amount of salt would satisfy them! I can follow a recipe though, and have no problem measuring out specific amounts of salt, flour or baking soda. That being said, there's a definite line between beginner baking and full on you-must-be-a-pastry-chef-to-pull-this-off baking. I mean I'm not going to be cranking out any kind of fancy soufle any time soon, but I sure as heck thought I could make these little bites without too much of a problem. Ha - never underestimate the kind of disasters that beginners can cause in the kitchen!
To start from the beginning, I saw Ina making this and knew I had to have them. I'm obsessed with pecan pie, and that's exactly what these are, just in a convenient bar form. The recipe makes a ton, and I had a friend's birthday coming up, which gave me the perfect excuse to make a boat-load of these tasty treats. It all started out well enough. I pulled out my most prized kitchen appliance - the stand mixer - and got the dough made perfectly. Putting it into the baking sheet was a whole nother story. Ina says in the recipe it's going to be sticky and she ain't kiddin! With the use of a lot of flour (which was mainly used to get the super glue like dough off my hands) I shaped it into the baking sheet, popped it in the oven and started on the filling.
The more messy, sticky, gooey the more delicious, right? Well, after making the filling I decided the squares were setting themselves up to be the most fantastic dessert around. Nevertheless, with a little patience, I was able to get the gooey filling on top of the baked crust.
Yes, the end result was worth the work. That is, until I tried to use my oven cleaner and filled the apartment with so much smoke we were forced to evacuate for 3 hours. :)
Please visit the link below for the recipe (if you dare!):
Ina's Pecan Squares
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa -The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook