Queenie Cooks: Best Thanksgiving Pecan Desserts

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: November 30, 2019 | 3:00 p.m.

Well, Thanksgiving is here, and let me just first say that I am truly thankful for this recipe – both of them, actually! And in honor of the holiday, I’m sharing two of my absolute favorite recipes – one for a traditional dessert and an “even better than traditional” one that’s probably the most-requested recipe of anything that I have ever prepared.

The traditional recipe is for a delicious, slightly less sweet Pecan Pie that a friend made famous. As for the other, well, these Pecan Pie Bars are in the running for my “best things I’ve ever tasted” list. And they’re perfect for that moment after a Thanksgiving (or Christmas, or Easter, or Tuesday, or…) Dinner when you want to just pick up “a little something sweet” – but not have to deal with any more plates and forks!

Let’s face it, whether you call them “PEA-cans” or “p’cahns”, there are few things that say “Fall, in the South” more than pecans. My love for pecans probably began when I’d watch Granddaddy Frank sit in his easy chair and work magic with his adjustable-handled nutcracker. And when he would let me “hold the pick” and finagle out the little morsels – and pop them right into my mouth – uhmmmm… heaven! Now, I love them in just about anything!  Cheddar Pecan Wafers… Millionaire Pies… Crispy Rainbow Salad… Fudgy Homemade Brownies (although I’ve heard that you can make those without pecans, but I put that down as a vicious rumor) – none of these would be the same without ‘em. And I’m telling you, these tasty Pecan Pie Bites really do top the list.

So what’s so great about them? Well, they’re not “exactly” like pecan pies – they’re… better! They’re also deceptively simple to make, from the homemade shortbread crust (no rolling!) to the delectable, rich pecan topping with just a hint of milk chocolate. I’m serious – “scrumptious” wishes it could compare! And while everybody knows that I love to “tinker” with most recipes, this one I don’t mess with, because it’s perfect just as it is. You basically just throw together your flour and sugar, cut in the butter, press it into a pan, and while that bakes you mix up the rest, pour it on the shortbread, bake it a bit longer and, Voila! Masterpiece! I served these at a shower once to absolute raves, and now I’m asked about them all the time. I don’t say this lightly, but trust me – if you like pecans, you’ll love these.

As for the second recipe, Pecan Pie is pretty much a staple for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and in case you didn’t have a favorite recipe for one of your own, now you do! This came from a dear friend at the theatre where it’s so popular at cast parties that when word goes out that “Moira brought the pie”… well, everyone scrambles to grab a slice before it’s gone.  It’s that good.

Hers are always beautiful as well as delicious, and her secret for making them so – “gently dribble the mixture in a circular motion over the pre-arranged whole pecans” – is included in the recipe.  I confess that I like to chop mine up, because that way there’s always a bunch of nutty goodness with every bite. The only other thing I might change would be to consider pre-baking the crust, as mine turned out a little soggy when I started with the raw crust. The recipe makes one pie, but I always double it to freeze or “whatever.” This pie is so good, you’ll definitely find something to do with the spare.

And there you are – two delicious Thanksgiving – or any time – treats. Oh! There’s one more thing on my “thankful for” list today, and that’s you. Thank you for sharing fun with food with me. And please remember that you can go – or send friends to – thesussexsurrydispatch.com any time for a bunch more of my favorite recipes. And whether you opt for making the Pecan Pies, Pecan Pie Bites, or (my personal favorite), C – All of the above – better get busy working on your “aw, shucks” look for when the raves come in. Because they will. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pecan Pie Bars Recipe 

TIME: Prep: 10 min. Bake: 35 min. + chilling       MAKES: 24 servings      Yield: 4 dozen.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 package (8 ounces) milk chocolate English toffee bits
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press firmly onto the bottom of a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat the milk, egg, vanilla and salt until smooth. Stir in toffee bits and pecans; spread evenly over baked crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Cool. Cover and chill; cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

Moira’s Traditional Pecan Pie

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C dark Karo syrup
  • ½ C sugar
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pecan halves to cover bottom of crust
  • 1 unbaked pie shell

Beat the eggs with a wire whisk, then add Karo syrup and continue beating. Beat in sugar, then melted butter, then vanilla. Arrange pecans on bottom of piecrust into a pretty pattern, completely coveting bottom. Pour mixture carefully over pecans in a circle, not disturbing pattern. Bake one hour at 350 in the middle of the oven.

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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