When Retro Ruth emailed me this advertisement, I literally whooped with joy. It’s rare that a retro recipe looks like a winner from the beginning — but how can you go wrong with butter, sugar, chocolate, and pecans?
Assuming there’s no nut allergies.
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 c. Land O Lakes Sweet Cream Butter, softened
- Caramel Layer
- 2/3 c. Land O Lakes Sweet Cream Butter
- 1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 c. whole pecan halves (not chopped)
- 1 c. milk chocolate chips
- Preheat Oven: 350°. In 3 qt. bowl combine crust ingredients. Mix at med. speed, scraping sides of bowl often, 2-3 min. or until well mixed and particles are fine. Pat firmly into ungreased 13x9x2″ pan. Sprinkle pecans evenly over unbaked crust. Prepare caramel layer; pour evenly over pecans and crust. Bake near center of 350° oven for 18-22 min., or until entire caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light golden brown. Remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle with chips. Allow chips to melt slightly (2-3 min.). Slightly swirl chips as they melt; leave some whole for a marbled effect. Do not spread chips. Cool completely; cut into 3-4 doz. bars.
- Caramel Layer: In heavy 1-qt. saucepan combine brown sugar and butter. Cook over med. heat, stirring constantly, until entire surface of mixture begins to boil. Boil 1/2 to 1 min., stirring constantly.
When we started actually cooking, though, all that initial enthusiasm hit some skepticism. Is the crust really only butter, sugar, and flour?
Butter, sugar, and flour, when mixed, become sand. Seriously: sand. You could fill a playground with this.
OK, I guess it’s delicious sand, at least.
The caramel was much more predictable: butter and sugar, all melty and delicious.
The sand — cookie layer? — had to be thoroughly pressed into place to be sturdy, and then I put pecans (whole halves, not chopped!) all over the top. The hardest part was drizzling the caramel layer evenly so everything got coated.
I tried to sort of swirl and push the caramel around, but it was already cooling and solidifying. So I just threw it in the oven and hoped. And the oven just made it bubbly. Great. Lots of chocolate chips on top should cover that up! Yay! (And they melted pretty quickly, and then it took FOREVER to cool enough to eat without burnt tongues. We just won’t ask how I know that it was hot enough to burn my tongue.)
Our household turtle helped monitor the tasting so it’s all official.
This photo doesn’t do the cookie justice. He looks all mellow and calm, which doesn’t really convey the speed with which the cookie vanished and he reached for more…
The Verdict: Terrific. More turtles now please!
It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate and caramel. The hardest part was waiting for these to cool. I kept wandering through the kitchen and chopping small pieces off the edge and saying, “MMMMMMM…. I mean, oh, darn, not done yet.” There’s really no reason to keep the pecan halves intact, though.