I have a treat for you today; my first guest blogger! My friend, writer Sarah Ballance, has agreed to share some memories and recipe with us. Since she has put so much more into the recipe, I will let her get away with starting it with a boxed cake mix!
Sarah is a prolific writer of Romantic Suspense Novels. If that is not your cup of tea or your TBR (To Be Read) list is like mine, (longer than I am tall), let me suggest her supernatural short-story “Hawthorne”, which is one of my absolute favorites![Available for Kindle, Nook, iPad and now, in print!]
Sarah is also an accomplished cook, making much of her food from scratch and with ingredients she and her husband grow themselves. As if any one of her involvements would not be more than enough for any one person, she raises pigs …and children! I don’t know how many oinkers she has, but there are six beautiful children that she even manages to homeschool!. Go, Sarah!
Sarah lends her talents to charitable works as well, (as you can see, since she is here to give me a boost!)
Please look for her at www.sarahballance.com, as you will not find her in the phonebook. “Sarah Balance” is her nom de plume; her real name is Wonder Woman!
“Handy” Pecan Pie Bars
Pecan pie. Just the words bring back memories, the most prominent of which is shelling pecans. Until my fingers hurt. My grandma made everything from scratch (if the grocery store sold shelled nuts back then, they never graced her threshold), and I can barely remember eating the pie, but I remember those darn shells. Today, years later, I don’t share her aversion for ready-to-use nuts sold in plastic bags, but as a busy mom of six, I jumped at the chance to enjoy the taste without the fuss . . . or the dessert dishes. Enter pecan pie bars.
This recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor has been slightly adapted. Why, you ask? Because the last time I made these bars I handily grabbed the yellow cake mix needed and got to work. Only . . . the crust didn’t look right. It’s supposed to be the soft hue of real butter, but instead it was neon yellow and greasy. A quick look at my ingredients revealed the problem. My cake mix was only 15.25 ounces and I needed 18.25 ounces. GAH! I knew I shouldn’t have gotten the cheaper box of cake mix! So off to the store I went. Or shall I say BACK to the store with all six of my kids. For cake mix.
Only to discover they no longer have the 18.25 ounce box. Really? So I bought an extra box and grumbled. And went home to start over. And improvise.
I didn’t weigh the mix when I tried to fix this, but after adding about ¼ of a cup of mix from the second box, I got the consistency I remembered and the bars turned out perfectly. This is noted in the recipe, which is incredibly delicious. Who knew pecan pie could so easily be a finger food? (My fingers, incidentally, prefer eating to shelling. Sorry, Grandma!)
Pecan Pie Bars (slightly adapted from Ann Bryne’s The Cake Mix Doctor)
- · 16.25 box of yellow cake mix + ¼ cup
- · 8 tablespoons melted butter (1 stick)
- · 1 large egg
- · ¾ c. dark corn syrup
- · ¼ packed light brown sugar
- · 2 large eggs
- · 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- · 1 ½ c. pecans (chopped or halves)
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside an ungreased 13×9” glass baking dish.
- 2. Combine cake mix, melted butter, and egg in a large mixing bowl. (If butter is hot, don’t add it directly to the egg or the egg might begin to cook.) Blend with electric mixer on low speed until well combined, scraping sides as necessary. Dough will form a large ball. Transfer it to the baking dish and press evenly across the bottom and about ½ inch up the sides.
- 3. Bake in preheated oven until it just starts to brown, 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven. Leave oven on.
- 4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In the same mixing bowl (no need to clean it), add corn syrup, brown sugar, remaining eggs, and vanilla. Blend on medium speed until well combined. Stir in pecans.
- 5. Pour the filling over the baked crust, spreading with a spatula until pecans are well distributed. Return pan to oven.
- 6. Bake until the crust is golden brown and filling just begins to set, 18-22 minutes. (Bars will thicken as they cool, so it’s important not to overcook them.) Remove from oven and cool pan on a wire rack, 30 minutes.
- 7. Cut into 24 bars.
- 8. Freeze up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
About Sarah Ballance
Sarah writes fiction. Why? Because she has six young children, and if she wants anyone to listen to her she’s got to make them up. Her favorite genre to write is romantic suspense, though she’s also written contemporary and ghostly things. To learn more, visit her website at http://sarahballance.com or her blog at http://sarahballance.wordpress.com/.