Walter Knoll Florist

Walter Knoll Florist

Posted by wkf on September 19, 2008 Mexican Food RECIPE

The Elusive Rick Bayless’s Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars ala Di

Rick Bayless is chef/owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago – I used to live in Chicago and frequented both restaurants – Rick was never around when I was there. We also lived in the same neighborhood, and although in some circles I was known as the Queen of Bucktown, I never ran into Rick.   I taught Yoga my last few years in Chicago, and Rick’s garden designer/gardener was one of my students – and although Mike offered to sneak me into the Bayless garden for a peak, I never made it over the walls. Rick and I even shopped at the same Whole Foods market, the first one in the Chicago area, and although I met his precocious Lainey at the juice bar (she was about 5) it was Rick’s wife who came looking for her.
Needless to say, Rick is one of my favorite chefs and I loved his PBS series “Mexico, One Plate at a Time” and enjoy watching now grown up Lainey (still precocious) assisting. Here’s my adaptation of one of the recipes I gleaned from the show.
Frontera’s Mexican Chocolate Pecan Bars (ala Di)
Makes 32 2-inch bars

9 ounces (about 2 cups) pecan halves
One 9-ounce bag pretzel rods (get Snyder’s – they’re the best in my book)
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter (divided use), plus extra for buttering the pan
1/2 cup sugar
1 11.5 ounce back Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons flour
6 “large” eggs
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla bean paste (or extract)

Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla Bean Paste

Powdered sugar, for garnish

Toast the pecans and prepare the crumb crust. In a 325-degree oven, toast the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet until noticeably darker and toasty smelling, about 10 minutes.

Don't chop the nuts too small

Don't chop the nuts too small

Let the pecans cool to lukewarm (but keep the oven heated), then coarsely chop them by hand—1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces makes luxurious-looking bars. Scrape into a large bowl.
Use a food processor to chop the pretzels into fairly fine crumbs. (You should have 2 cups of crumbs.) In a glass measuring cup, in a microwave at 50% power, melt 2 sticks of the butter. Scrape into the processor, along with the 1/2 cup sugar. Pulse until everything is combined. Butter the bottom and sides of two 8×8-inch baking pans. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom and sides of each pan, then press them firmly in place. Butter the parchment paper. Divide the crumb mixture between the two pans and pat into an even layer covering the bottom completely.  Pre-bake about 10 minutes and allow to cool before topping with chocolate mixture below.

Make the filling. To the pecans, add the chocolate and the flour.

Toss together the chocolate, nuts and flour

Toss together the chocolate, nuts and flour

Stir to combine, then divide evenly between the 2 pans.

Let crust cool slightly before adding nut mixture

Let crust cool slightly before adding nut mixture

In glass measuring cup, melt the remaining 2 sticks of the butter in the microwave. In the bowl of the food processor (no need to clean crust crumbs out), mix the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla, until just combined.

No need to wash the bowl

No need to wash the bowl

Slowly add the melted butter, mixing until the batter looks smooth. Divide the batter between the two pans, pouring it slowly and evenly over the surface to ensure even distribution of the chocolate and pecans through the batter.

Divide evenly between the 2 pans

Divide evenly between the 2 pans

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the center has just set.

Place pans on same shelf in middle of oven.

Place pans on same shelf in middle of oven.

Let cool to room temperature.

Allow to cool completely, then wrap in Saran and refrigerate until cold for easier slicing.

Allow to cool completely, then wrap in Saran and refrigerate until cold for easier slicing.

Cover and refrigerate until firm for easy cutting. Cut into 2-inch squares. Keep them stored in the refrigerator until just before serving. Transfer to a serving platter, dust with powdered sugar, carry to your guests and await the ooo’s and aah’s.

By using the food processor to mix the crust and the batter, I had not so many dishes to clean up!

Easy clean up

Easy clean up

Here is Rick’s recipe if you want to mess with it yourself! And if you happen to run into him, tell him I said “Hi!”  By the way, Bobby Flay is not so shy!  Got him to pose this summer with Mike of Pappy’s BBQ.

Mike Di Bobby

Mike Di Bobby

Frontera’s Mexican Chocolate Pecan Bars
Makes 32 2-inch bars
Recipe from Season 6 of Mexico—One Plate at a Time

9 ounces (about 2 cups) pecan halves
One 9-ounce bag pretzel rods
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter (divided use), plus extra for buttering the pan
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into pieces not larger than 1/4 inch
3/4 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) finely chopped Mexican chocolate (like the widely available Ibarra brand)
3 tablespoons flour
6 “large” eggs
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups corn syrup, preferably dark (or use a mixture of corn syrup and molasses, sorghum, Steens cane syrup or most any of the other rich-flavored syrups that are on the market)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Mexican vanilla
Powdered sugar, for garnish
NOTE: No Mexican chocolate available at my haunts – I used about 11 oz Ghiradelli extra bitter baking chips and I think next time I’ll use only 8 or 9 ounces

Toast the pecans and prepare the crumb crust. In a 325-degree oven, toast the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet until noticeably darker and toasty smelling, about 10 minutes. Let the pecans cool to lukewarm (but keep the oven heated), then coarsely chop them by hand—1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces makes luxurious-looking bars. Scrape into a large bowl.
Use a food processor to chop the pretzels into fairly fine crumbs. (You should have 2 cups of crumbs.) In a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave at 50% power, melt 2 sticks of the butter. Scrape into the processor, along with the 1/2 cup sugar. Pulse until everything is combined. Butter the bottom and sides of two 8×8-inch baking pans. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of each pan, then press them firmly in place. Butter the parchment paper. Divide the crumb mixture between the two pans and pat into an even layer covering the bottom completely.

Make the filling. To the pecans, add the 2 chocolates and the flour. Stir to combine, then divide evenly between the 2 pans. In your small saucepan or microwave, melt the remaining 2 sticks of the butter. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla, and beat at medium-low speed (if your mixer has a choice, use the flat beater). Slowly add the melted butter, mixing until the batter looks smooth. Divide the batter between the two pans, pouring it slowly and evenly over the surface to ensure even distribution of the chocolate and pecans through the batter.

Bake, cool and serve the bars. Slide into the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the center has just set. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until firm for easy cutting. Cut into 2-inch squares. Keep them stored in the refrigerator until just before serving. Transfer to a serving platter, dust with powdered sugar, carry to your guests and await the ooo’s and aah’s.

The Walter Knoll Florist Fall and Thanksgiving Products are up – these chocolate pecan pie bars are screaming for an Autumn flower bouquet!

Comments

Maggie
Maggie September 20, 2008 at 7:30am

Man, does that look good! I happen to have some sorghum in the cabinet to use up too.

Rossi
Rossi September 20, 2008 at 2:55pm

I just absolutely adore the article you wrote and I actually took the time to read it! So I looked at all the mixing and baking and cooking segments and the photos were great and sharp and really real! And then I looked on at the florals and plants I don't know and the seeds in them and thought, 'Gee, did DI take those pics too?!' So now that I am inspired by this, 'Thank you for the sharing!'

James
James September 20, 2008 at 6:17pm

Hi, I found your blog on this new directory of WordPress Blogs at blackhatbootcamp.com/listofwordpressblogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, i duno. Anyways, I just clicked it and here I am. Your blog looks good. Have a nice day. James.

Kara
Kara September 22, 2008 at 3:46pm

So happy I found this blog! I am a floral design student in the STL area. (And a compulsive baker) What a great fit!!!

russ
russ October 12, 2008 at 9:31am

thanks for the details for this desert. i saw it on the tv show and i can not wait to try it!!

Jorge
Jorge March 3, 2010 at 10:56pm

They sound delightful! Especially the pecan ones! I'm going to try them out this weekend.. I just bought a "Magic bullet".. might give it a trial run with those pecan bars. Thanks so much for your post!

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