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  • Mary Kay

Chocolate Bourbon Pie Bars like Gram's Homemade Pecan Pie

Save yourself a lot of time and still enjoy the Holiday flavors - make bars instead of cookies! It's a Great Holiday Favorite!

Turning Gram's Pecan Pie into easy to make bars, you'll enjoy this delicious Christmas staple. Actually, my sister makes the best Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. And, our Gram made the best old fashioned Pecan Pie, sans alcohol.

This year I’ve dedicated my holiday season on my blog to creating easy to make bars from many of the Holiday dessert staples we enjoy every year. Families are busy, and many are afraid to tackle the real desserts like pies which can get pretty involved. These easy to make bars will take care of filling those flavor needs during the holidays without stuffing the tummy.

These recipes make it easy for you to make your own desserts without spending days mixing, rolling, rising and baking them…and without losing the family traditions.

We used to have dried butternuts from the trees on the lower part of the farm to crack for Gram’s pecan pie. When I was very young it was part of preparing for the holidays. We would gather around the kitchen table which was covered with old newspapers, cracking the butternuts with hammers since they were so hard. Then we’d use her metal nut picks to dig the nut meats out of the shells. Clean up was easy because we would gather everything up in the newspapers and she would burn them in the wood stove to help keep the kitchen warm.

Gram was lucky to get enough butternuts for the pies since we kids used to snitch them to eat as we worked. I say pies, plural, since she never made just one pie. She usually made 3-4 in order to feed the family, neighbors, or anyone else stopping by the farm for coffee and local gossip.

Butternuts were in Gram’s desserts since they were basically free for the picking up from under the trees. We’d drive her car down through the pasture to the butternut trees on the lower part of the farm. We would help Gram gather the

nuts, tossing them into her big cobbler apron which she held out like a big basket. Then we’d help her dump the nuts into the age-old wooden buckets. They would dry in the farmhouse attic for a couple months. Then we’d crack them open, extracting the nuts for baking pies and other sweet treats. Being pretty much self-sufficient, Gram and Gramps produced most of what was eaten on the farm. And, butternuts were a great substitute for pecans which were not too plentiful in the stores or they were way too expensive back then.

Gram also used to make her own caramel sauce from scratch over her wood burning stove. Today we’re making this dessert with some very good quality thick caramel sauce. This one is an excellent Bourbon Pecan flavored sauce I found in a cute little boutique during some of my road trips.

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees a few minutes before you’re ready to bake the crust.

Prep your pan 9”x 9” baking pan:

- Lightly brush some soft butter on the bottom and sides of the baking pan.

- This recipe accommodates a 9”x 9” pan. If you need to make a larger recipe, just double this one for a 9”x 13” rimmed baking or cake pan.

Gather up your Crust Ingredients:

2 C Flour

12 T Butter, cold, cubed

1/3 C Powdered sugar

2 t Vanilla extract

1/4 t Salt

Gather up your Filling Ingredients:

1 C Caramel sauce

¼ C Heavy cream

2 Egg yolks

1 T Flour

1 C Chocolate Chips, semi-sweet

1 C Pecans, rough chopped

2 T Bourbon (optional)

1 T Vanilla extract

Toppings Ingredients:

1 ½ C Whipped cream

Mix and bake the crust:

- Cut up the cold butter into small cubes.

- Work the butter, flour, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract into crumbles with a pastry cutter or cutting with two knives.

- Press into the prepared pan to create a crust, pressing some up the sides of the pan a little.

- Bake at 350F degrees for 25-30 minutes. I rotate the pan 180 degrees to make sure it bakes evenly in my oven.

Make the delicious filling:

- While the crust is baking, make your filling so you can pour it in right away to finish baking the bars.

- In a medium bowl, whisk the caramel sauce, heavy cream, egg yolks, flour, bourbon and vanilla extract until well mixed.

- Pour onto the warm/hot crust.

- Sprinkle the chocolate chips and chopped pecans on top.

- Bake at 350F degrees for 20-25 minutes. At the 15-minute mark I rotate the pan 180 degrees to make sure it bakes evenly.

- When it’s done, the middle will be a little jiggly and the outer edges will be set.

- Cool completely on a rack before cutting.

- Life out of the pan with the parchment paper onto a cutting board to slice the bars.

- Just before serving, place a dollop of whipped cream on each bar for a delicious after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner…just like at Grandma’s house!

Enjoy these easy to make Pecan Bourbon Chocolate Pie Bars for the Holidays or any time of the year. They taste just like Gram’s but without all the work of mixing and rolling out a pie crust. It’s a pleasant way to enjoy another traditional flavor of the Holidays without all the work. Whenever you make these special treats, “Bake your own Memories!”

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