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Recipe: Caramel Pecan Squares

A tender, sweet crust topped with a rich topping of pecans enrobed in caramel--a decadent combination of flavors and textures. The secret ingredient? Our Graisse de Canard Gold rendered duck fat. We add it to the crust and the caramel topping for an extra dimension of flavor in these terrific pastries. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Makes
24
For crust:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) Graisse de Canard Gold®, chilled until firm
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For topping:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Graisse de Canard Gold®
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound pecans, coarsely chopped

Methods/steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang at both 9-inch sides.
  2. To make the crust: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat the butter, Graisse de Canard Gold®, and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffly, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Gradually add the combined dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed.  Mix until just combined.
  5. Transfer the dough to the lined pan and spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until set and very lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.
  6. To make the topping:  Combine the butter, Graisse de Canard Gold®, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large saucepan.  Cook over low heat until the butter and Graisse de Canard Gold® are melted.  Increase the heat and boil the mixture for 3 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream and pecans.  Pour the pecan mixture over the crust and carefully spread it in an even layer.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the filling seems set and has turned a rich amber brown.  Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator until cold.  Lift the uncut bars out of the pan using the foil overhang, then peel off the foil.  Cut into 24 bars.  Let the bars stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes or so before serving.

Additional Tips

Our thanks to Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, for her delicious pecan squares, which inspired this recipe.

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Classic French Stocks and Sauces