Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Praline Butter Bars

About a month ago, I blogged about some extraordinary bars that my friend Steph brought me one day. They were called Praline Butter Bars and she bought them at Whole Foods. One of the first things she said to me after I took my first bite was... we've got to learn how to make these!

I was fairly sure that I could do the top layers no problem.. it was the crust that I was nervous about. It was SUPER buttery and moist. I came across a recipe for Caramel Butter Bars on a blog. The recipe was written by Jill O'Connor and is in her book: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth. I decided it was now time to attempt to copycat the Praline Butter Bars using this crust and the filling and topping from Paula Deens Low Country Bars.

I decided to put all this together this weekend and see if I could get close to the original Praline Butter Bars. And I was very pleasantly surprised when this first experiment pretty much nailed the recipe. The only difference is the filling and topping are reversed. In the original Praline Butter Bars... the white is the filling and its thicker, while the praline part is a thinner topping. But, I don't really mind it being reversed.

The picture was taken with the bar sitting out at room temperature for awhile. Normally the white topping is firmer.

These were great and I don't really think I'm going to need to experiment anymore with them.

Praline Butter Bars

For the crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour

For the filling:
12 tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup coconut, optional
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

For the topping:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp milk

Spray a 13x9 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

To prepare the crust:
Preheat oven to 325.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using an electric mixer mix at medium speed and beat together till creamy. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture adn beat on low speed until smooth and soft.

Press the dough evenly in the bottom of the pan and slide into the oven for 20-25 minutes. Until dough is soft, but lightly puffed. It doesn't need to change color. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To prepare the filling:
Measure your nuts, graham cracker crumbs and coconut (if using) and set aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat and add sugar. Beat the egg with the milk together in a prep bowl and then pour into the dissolved sugar and butter mixture. Stirring constantly (to keep the eggs from scrambling), turn the heat up a little and stir until mixture comes to a bowl. Remove from heat and add the graham cracker, nuts, and coconut. Stir to combine and pour and spread over the crust.

To prepare the topping:
Beat all ingredients together and spread over the filling.

Chill the bars and allow them to set up before cutting into squares.

Recipe adapted from Jill O'Connor Caramel Butter Bars and Paula Deen's Low Country Bars.