Caramel-chocolate pecan squares

A holiday favourite that’s great all year round!

My mom is an excellent baker. With six kids to feed, it seemed she made bread and either cookies or squares just about every day. She once told me that squares represent the epitome of hospitality in the Maritimes. I fell in love with this recipe the first time she made it and it remains one of my holiday favourites. I don’t dare make these decadent treats the other eleven months of the year – they are definitely not low cal, but they sure are delicious. They freeze well, also.

Ingredients

For crust:

  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (250 mL) pecan halves

For filling:

  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) butter
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) butterscotch chips

Special equipment: candy or instant read thermometer

Method

For crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Combine flour, butter and brown sugar in large bowl.
  • Mix with electric mixer at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until particles are fine (2-3 minutes).
  • Press evenly into the bottom of a parchment-lined 9 x 13 pan.
  • Sprinkle nuts over crust. Set aside.

For filling:

  • Combine sugar and butter in small saucepan.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil (about 4 – 5 minutes).
  • Boil, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reaches 242F (firm ball stage), about 1 minute.
  • Pour sauce evenly over pecans and crust, to edges of pan if possible. Don’t worry if you miss a few little spots; it will spread out as it bakes.
  • Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, until entire caramel layer is bubbling.
  • Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate and butterscotch chips.
  • Use a clean spatula to press chips down slightly into caramel layer. Let cool on a rack for a couple of hours till chocolate is starting to firm up.
  • Lift the edges of the parchment to pull the entire block of squares out of the pan and place on a cutting board; cut into small squares.

Makes one 9 x 13 pan.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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