Friday, November 15, 2013

Chewy Brigadeiro Pecan Bars

These wonderfully chewy cookie bars are made with melted chocolate and dulce de leche, sandwiched between layers of oat/pecan cookie dough and baked to golden perfection. Toasted pecans, melted chocolate, rolled oats and dulce de leche (caramelized condensed milk) make a chewy cookie bar that remind me of one of our favorite candies, Brazilian brigadeiros.



Chewy Brigadeiro Pecan Bars

I first saw this recipe on The Spiced Life, written by my friend, Laura, creator of the Creative Cookie Exchange group.  It sounded fabulous just as it was but I wanted to try a couple small modifications, exchanging the condensed milk for dulce de leche and toasting the pecans first.

Ingredients for four dozen squares
For the bottom/top dough:
2 1/2 cups or 315g flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 225g unsalted butter plus more for buttering the pan
2 cups, packed, or 400g brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups or 285g old fashioned rolled oats
7 oz or 200g pecans (Half for dough, half for sprinkling on before baking)

For the chocolate filling:
14 (or 15) oz or 397-510g can dulce de leche (store-bought or homemade - very easy!)
13 3/4 oz or almost 290g semi sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional: 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes for sprinkling on top of the bars before baking

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Prepare your baking pan (Mine is about 11x16in or 28x40cm.) by lining it with foil and rubbing it with some butter.

Put your pecans in a separate pan large enough to hold them all in a single layer.  Pop them in the oven while it preheats.  Set a timer for five minutes at a time and keep checking on them and giving them a shake until they smell like roasted nuts, warm and fragrant.  Depending on how quickly your oven preheats, this could take from as little as 10 minutes to as many as 20 minutes.  Just be careful not to let them scorch.  Remove from the oven and allow the pecans to cool.

When the pecans are cool enough to handle, chop them roughly.



In a medium-sized bowl, combine your flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy.  Add in the vanilla and then beat the eggs in one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition.

This is the addition of the second egg. 


Add in the flour mixture in two lots and mix on the lowest speed until well mixed each time.



After the flour is all added. 
Add the oats and mix on low until mostly incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

It's pretty stiff after the oats have been added.  You'll want to scrape the beater as well.  

Add half of the pecans and mix until everything is completely incorporated.



Remove two cups or 600g of this dough and set aside.

Dump the remaining dough into your foil-lined pan.  Divide it into smaller chunks spread around the bottom of the pan and then press it down until it covers the entire bottom.  Set aside.



To make the filling, put your chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and zap for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted.

Add in the dulce de leche, vanilla, butter and the pinch of salt and stir well. The butter should melt in the heat of the chocolate but if it doesn't you can give the whole bowl another quick zap.



Pour this warm chocolate mixture over the dough pressed into the pan.


Use your fingers to break up the reserved two cups of the dough and sprinkle in over the chocolate. It won’t and shouldn’t cover all of the chocolate.

Now sprinkle the remaining toasted chopped pecans over the whole thing.


Finish by sprinkling 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes over that, if desired. I love the sweet and salty mix myself.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Allow to cool for about 15 minutes on a cooling rack before removing the foil and the whole cookie bar from the pan. Cool completely before cutting into small squares.



Store in a well-sealed container with waxed paper or parchment dividing the layers. If you live in a very warm climate, store this in the refrigerator. These cookie bars also freeze nicely and will keep for several weeks.


Enjoy!

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16 comments :

  1. These look SOOO good. oh my heavens

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  2. Pecans are probably the most perfect holiday nuts, don't you think? And I'm down with anything that uses Dulce de Leche- that stuff is like crack to me. Love these bars!

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  3. Pecans are my absolute favorites anytime of the year, Ruthy, but you are right that they are also perfect for holiday baking. Or just eating right out of the cracked shells. :)

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  4. They are so good, Kayle! I froze a bunch of them and just pulled them out of the freezer and they are still fabulous, after four weeks!

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  5. I love to bake gingersnaps....with a kick of extra ginger!

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  6. I love Mexican butter cookies - they're amazing!

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  7. Oatmeal Craisin Cookies dipped in White Chocolate!

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  8. I like to make a classic chocolate chip with pecans added
    *****************
    {in the contest I am Margot Core on the Rafflecopter}

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  9. Gingersnaps are my husband's favorite cookie, Alison, so yours would be very welcome at our house.

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  10. I have never hear of those! Must go look them up.

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  11. I like to add pecans to almost everything. Good choice!

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  12. Dulce de Leche is a winning choice for these bars. Wow at how rich and delicious they must be. Perfect for holiday indulgences.

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  13. dough on the top and bottom? Drooling!

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