Sep 22, 2015

Praline Pecan Coconut Shortbread Bars | #CreativeCookieExchange

Praline Pecan Coconut Shortbread Bars from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These Praline Pecan Coconut Shortbread Bars are deliciously crispy and rich. The shortbread base is easy to put together in the food processor, and the topping comes together in one pan.


Praline Pecan Coconut Shortbread Bars from Karen's Kitchen Stories

I was a little nervous about making the praline topping because it requires precise timing before removing it from the heat. Caramelizing ingredients without burning them can be pretty tricky. Caramel can go from tan to burned pretty quickly. I had a hard time deciding when the thick mixture was actually boiling, so I started the timing when the mixture was bubbling in the middle and it worked out perfectly.

Praline Pecan Coconut Shortbread Bars from Karen's Kitchen Stories

I am a huge fan of shortbread, as evidenced by the 13 (now 14) shortbread recipes in my recipe index. It is so versatile and crumbly good. In this case, it makes a wonderful base for this caramelized pecan and coconut praline topping.

Side note: I have an inordinate amount of ingredients in my house and I'm trying really hard to not buy new ones, especially if I already have the ones I need. Seriously. These days, once I've decided to make something, I make a shopping list, and then shop in my pantry and freezer first, because there's been some "ingredient creep" going on here (I once bought the cutest pair of pants, and when I went to put them in the closet, hanging there were the exact same pair).

I knew I had some coconut in the house from making these muffins, but I could not find it! During the search, I got totally sidetracked and consolidated nuts, seeds, and flours by type (and discovered I had three bags of rice flour). I finally found the coconut in the overfilled bin with all of the chocolate chips. Do you ever come home with ingredients that you didn't realize you already had?

Of course, I always know where the butter is.

To make these bars, you will need a heavy sauce pan and a 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan. I used a metal cake pan, but I think a quarter sheet pan or a glass casserole dish would be fine too.

This month the bakers from the #CreativeCookieExchange are making layered bars! After the recipe, you will find lots of delicious links to many more.

Praline Pecan Coconut Shortbread Bars

Ingredients


Shortbread

13 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch square pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
8 1/2 ounces (2 cups) unbleached all purpose flour

Praline Topping

6 ounces chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a nine inch by 13 inch pan with foil, leaving an overhang on both 9 inch ends. 
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until pebbly and blended. Add about 2/3 of the flour and pulse until it comes together and "clumps" in the food processor. Add the rest of the flour and pulse about five more times. Turn the dough out onto the counter, and knead the flour into the dough. 
  3. Press the dough evenly into the pan, from edge to edge. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes, until you see just a faint bit of color. 
  4. Remove from the oven and set aside. 
  5. In a 3 or 4 quart heavy sauce pan, add all of the topping ingredients, and heat on medium low, stirring constantly until the butter is completely melted and everything is mixed together. 
  6. Turn the heat up to medium, and bring it to a boil, continuing to stir. Once the mixture reaches boiling, boil it for two minutes. 
  7. Remove the topping from the heat, and spread it evenly over the warm shortbread. 
  8. Place the pan back into the oven, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbly.
  9. Cool in the pan completely. When cool, lift the ends of the foil and place on a cutting board. With a large chef's knife, cut the slab in half, through the foil. Peel the foil off of the bottom of the cookie slabs, and then cut each half into 16 pieces. 
  10. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. They also can be frozen.
Makes 32 bars. Adapted from the amazing Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett. 



The theme this month is Layered Bar Cookies--if you like crispy, crunchy, chewy, creamy or gooey layers packed into one cookie you have come to the right place!! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.  You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!   Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of our bloggers have made this month:   

32 comments:

  1. Your bars turned out perfect! I definitely would enjoy them :)

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  2. Your bars are glorious! I think I'll make these around Thanksgiving as an alternative to pecan pie on the dessert table. I know they will quickly disappear!

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    1. You just gave me a wonderful idea Holly! Thank you!

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  3. I shop in my own cupboards and freezer first too, Karen. It's the only sensible thing to do. Last year I was trying to organize my stash and found, if I remember correctly, eight opened packets of brown sugar. How ridiculous is that?!

    As for your cookie bars, you had me at pecan praline. Pecans are my favorite nut and, despite not being much of a sweet eater, I go nuts for anything caramelized.

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    1. Ha ha Stacy. I don't feel so bad now! Thank you!

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  4. Oh MY! These are looking beyond gorgeous! I love the flavors, I Love the layers and just the whole package!! Amazing .

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  5. I am not even slightly surprised that you managed to make PERFECT squares of praline shortbread cookies - I don't think there's anything too tricky for you to make... seriously

    I made some bars a couple of weeks ago, and let's say I had to pick and choose carefully the ones to be in a photo (sigh)

    tricky stuff... ;-)

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    1. Here's my trick.. I use a square sided pan, so I don't have to trim off any edges. Then I use the biggest sharpest chef's knife I own, and don't saw. Instead, I place the tip on the board at one end, and then just rock the knife down slowly in one motion. I'm not that good at cake decorating, but I can slice bread and bars! Lol!

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    2. Definitely NOT what I did... I used a serrated knife and crass language. Ok, Her Goddess, I will be testing your method next time!

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  6. What a great idea to shop in your pantry first! I can't tell you how often I have found boxes of brown sugar or extra cans of condensed milk hiding at the back of my shelves. I am drooling looking at your cookies and wish I had a few (notice I didn't say 1) in front of me right now!

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    1. Thanks so much Linda! If I was really organized (or had a better memory), I'd keep an inventory list!! Ha ha.

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  7. You totally had me with the shortbread although the nuts gave me pause. But I see on Facebook that you said Mr. Kitchen loved these and he's not a nut fan either so I'll have to give 'em a go! They look gorgeous, as always. And don't get me started on buying stuff you've already got. I've got to start shopping in my kitchen first because when I don't that's how I end up with three bags of guar gum when I didn't actually need ANY (it was lecithin I needed, but did I write it down? Nooooo.)

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    1. That's right! You are not a fan of the nuts! It's so true that he did like them, and came back for seconds!!!! Don't get me started on the vital wheat gluten.

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  8. Holy moly ... you had me at praline! These bars look nothing short of perfect ... so much so that I could quite possibly eat the entire pan!

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    1. Thanks Kimberly! That's why I had to take them to work =)

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  9. These look fabulous!! Saving this recipe - will be a good one for the cookie tin this year. :) So funny about the pants - I purchased (yet another) cookbook, and leafing through it, I'm thinking these recipes sound really familiar. Yes, you guessed it, I already owned it!

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    1. Ha ha! That's why I like Amazon! They tell you that you already bought something, lol! P.S. these things are really good. No hyperbole.

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  10. These are definitely going to be a part of my holiday baking this year! I love everything about these!

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    1. Thanks Renee! You can't go wrong with shortbread during the holidays!

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  11. LOVE bars like this. Awesome flavor, but what really gets me is the texture. Yum!

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  12. This sounds great Karen, if I eat sweet stuff it typically has to be one of two things, lemony or nutty so the pecans in this are really calling to me. Beautiful photo at the top of the page too :)

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  13. I love cookies and would LOVE these I'm sure! Yes, ingredient creep happens to me too. I find it most annoying to get home from the store and realize I've forgotten a "must have" ingredient and doubled up on another! I think powdered sugar is one I can never find, or remember to get. That cookie exchange looks fantastic. I've followed the board.

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  14. I do the 'shop the pantry and fridge' thing, too - helps to just make the list of everything you need for the week and shop in the kitchen before going to the store. Love these bars and the photos are great!

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  15. Those look fantastic, Karen - and I bet they have no calories :)

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  16. regarding measuring the pecans: is that by weight or volume??

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  17. From one Karen to another, this recipe is fantastic. I made a batch on Sunday, in preparation for Thanksgiving. After some taste-testing (done by my co-workers and boyfriend), it has already been requested that I make another batch before the holiday so that everyone can have plenty. Amazing!

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I love comments and questions and read every one of them.