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Brown Butter Peach Pecan Bars

February 4, 2012

In mid-January, I started a new job. It should be mentioned that this is my first “Real Person” job, the kind that isn’t an unpaid internship or being underemployed in the food service. I am, obviously, thrilled, but am also rather terrified. (does getting a first job always feel this much like being a fraud? like any second someone is going to figure out that they actually meant to give the position to the person with ten years of experience?)

I dealt with my fears as any food blogger worth their salt would: stress cooking. Yes, the Sunday before I started, I spent twelve straight hours cooking soups, tarts, cabbage salad, and a breakfast bar.

This might be my first foray into A Career Job, but I am well aware of the phenomenon that goes: the more you need to be somewhere on time, the worse the hurdles become. For instance, the day before the interview for this very position, I came down with a heavyweight cold. The morning of, at five a.m., before any stores were open to buy batteries, our fire alarm started beeping its “low-battery” beep every thirty seconds. I was awake for the next two hours listening to it, until I finally drifted off long enough to sleep through my alarm. I then ripped my tights, spilled something on my carefully-selected shirt, burned myself making toast, and accidentally took the “drowsy” cold medication.

This was a morning on which I could have used some brown butter peach pecan bars. They’re hand-held, delicious, and it’s almost impossible to spill them on one’s shirt. They’re not overly sweet, so they’re suitable for breakfast. And I like to think of them as a reminder that sometimes, everything turns out ok, even if you have to wow potential employers while accidentally high on cough medication.






Brown Butter Peach Pecan Bars

This recipe began its life as a Smitten Kitchen Raspberry Breakfast Bar, which began its life as a raspberry crumb bar from Baked. In her description, Deb talked about dreaming of a peach brown butter cousin of hers bars, and I became inspired. I played with the recipe, subbed peaches for raspberries, and added in some pecans.

About the sugar: I also dialed down the sugar so they’re more like breakfast and less like dessert (although I certainly have nothing against dessert), so I decreased the lemon juice, as well. If you want a more sweet bar, I’d recommend using a full ¼ cup of lemon juice to match the extra sugar.

For the outer layers:
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used muscovado)
1 ¼ cups rolled oats
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup toasted pecans

For the peach layer:
1 lb (16 oz) frozen peaches
heaping 1/8 cup packed brown sugar (again, muscovado!)
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

–          Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 inch glass pan, and either flour the bottom or cover it with parchment paper.

–          For the outer layers: Stick the butter in a saucepan, turn heat to medium, and melt it. Keep a close eye on the melted butter: it will eventually foam, and then it will clarify somewhat. Stir frequently, waiting for the butter solids to brown, and for it to smell nutty. Remove from heat immediately, since it can go from “browned” to “burned” in mere seconds. Set aside to cool.
–          Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add the cooled brown butter, and pulse until the mixture almost forms loose crumbs. Add pecans, and pulse until it forms those loose crumbs, but make sure not to over-process (you want to keep large chunks of pecan).
–          Set aside 1 ½ cups of the mixture.
–          Deposit the rest of the mixture in your pan, and push it down and around until it forms an even layer across the entire bottom of the pan.
–          Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside to cool. (Keep oven on).

–          For the peach layer: Deposit peaches into food processor, pulse until the most of the peaches are into bite-size chunks. Add in the brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, and cooled butter as you process.
–          Spread the peach mixture over the crust.
–          Sprinkle the reserved crust over the peach layer.
–          Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, checking for a browned top and perhaps for the peach mixture to bubble around the edges.
–          Remove, cool, cut up, and enjoy.
–          I stored these in the fridge for quite a while, but after a week they became kind of “meh.”

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  1. Resolutions « Food Lines

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