Last week, my long time friend from summer camp had an Oscar party for the Academy Awards. It was a blast! Everyone brought fun treats and we played Oscar Bingo while taking bets on who would win the awards. It felt like a Super Bowl party! I loved the competitive aspect of trying to guess all of the winners correctly - it made me want to pay attention even though the only movie nominated for anything that I saw this year was the Muppets. (It's seriously time to play movie-catch-up at my Redbox!)
The snacks were probably the best part! There was everything from mac and cheese to charcuterie and crudites to desserts like chocolate peanut butter bars. The best treat was cupcakes that one of my friends made - they looked gorgeous from the outside (topped with chocolate covered popcorn) but when you bit in they were filled with something that tasted like the goo in Boston Cream Pie. So so delicious.
My contribution was a bit less elaborate, although still absolutely scrumptious. If you have to bring a dessert to a friend's house any time soon, I highly suggest making this recipe. It does take about an hour to make, but 40 minutes of that is baking time. The assembly is easy as pecan
I was pretty excited that this recipe was similar to pecan pie but didn't call for corn syrup. I don't think it's the worst thing in the world - it's not like I bake with high fructose corn syrup - but there are still a lot of sweeteners I'd choose to add first. Maple syrup is probably number 1 on that list. Maple syrup is in my abandoned on a deserted island pack. I live for this stuff.
The Oscar party was a ton of fun, and the show itself was pretty good this year! Billy Crystal was funny as usual, and there were some great presenters. My favorite part was the Cirque de Soleil performance. It's amazing the stunts they can pull off - like standing with one foot on someone else's head (while eating popcorn). Unbelievable! I'm dying to see one of these shows in real life!
As with most ELR recipes I've reviewed, this one is simple and perfect. The Monkey Scientist told me he would have eaten the whole pan if I'd made them at home. You probably have most or even all of these ingredients already. The sweetness of the maple syrup complements the crunch of the pecans perfectly. They come out of the oven boiling with syrupy goodness, and then they cool they're gooey and melt in your mouth delicious. The shortbread is buttery and holds the whole bar together nicely. These are a great recipe for Thanksgiving, to bring over to a friend's house, or even just to make for a sweet treat after dinner. It's one of the favorite recipes I've made in a long while!
Maple Pecan Bars
from eat, live, run
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into slices
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cream or milk (I actually used skim)
1 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar and salt. Cut in the six tablespoons cold butter with your fingers, working the mixture together until crumbs form.
3. Press shortbread into a nine inch pan sprayed with cooking spray and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden.
4. Remove hot crust from oven and set aside. In a small saucepot, melt the remaining butter (four tablespoons). Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and cream or milk and whisk well. Simmer for one minute while whisking continuously. Add the pecans and pour into the hot crust.
5. Bake for 18-20 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let cool for half an hour to allow the bars to harden.