Last Thanksgiving, we made portable versions of Thanksgiving classics as we were set to road-trip to California the next day. My favorite was this quite-rich pecan bar recipe, in place of pecan pie. Maybe I liked it because it has over 3 times as many pecans as a typical pecan pie recipe. It comes from Maida Heatter's "Pecan Bars Americana" recipe; she got it from Jacques Kranzlin, the pastry chef at the Americana Hotel in Miami Beach back in the day.
8 oz butter
1/2 c sugar
1/4 t salt
zest of 1 lemon (or lemon oil)
3 c sifted AP flour
Butter a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 inch jelly roll pan. Line with foil. Place pan in freezer as you prepare the recipe.
In large bowl, beat butter till softened; add sugar; beat to mix well. Beat in egg, salt, zest. Gradually add flour, and beat, scraping bowl, until mix holds together.
Place dough a round-teaspoonful-clump at a time around the sides of the pan, just pressing against the raised sides. Place pieces 1/2-1 inch apart. Place remaining dough the same way all over the bottom. Flour fingertips and press the mounds of dough, first up the sides and then the bottom, until you've formed a smooth layer. Avoid any thin spots, or low spots on the sides; it can even come above the top. Prick the bottom with a fork at 1/2 inch intervals. Chill 15 min.
Preheat over to 375. Bake 20 min. Watch dough to make sure it does not slip or puff. Remove when edges are lightly colored; bottom is pale but dry. remove, but do not turn off heat. Prepare topping.
8 oz butter
1/2 c honey
1/4 c sugar
1 c plus 2 T dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 c heavy cream
20 oz (5 c) pecan halves or large pieces
In heavy 3 qt pan over moderately high heat, cook the butter and honey, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted. Add sugars, stir to dissolve, bring to a boil, let boil without stirring "exactly 2 minutes."
Remove from the heat; stir in heavy cream, then stir in pecans. Wait 5 minutes. With a large slotted spoon, place most of the pecans evenly over the crust. Drizzle remaining mixture over the peacns so it is even, up to the corners. "It will look like there is not enough of the thin syrupy mixture, but it is okay.")
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Cool at room temperature. Turn out of the pan. It is easier to cut if it is chilled briefly.