Time for a summer take-a-long for your picnics and parties and, of course, I mean dessert. Grandma had a self-proclaimed sweet tooth and it's evident in the notebook. Today's recipe shares real estate with Fruit Rocks, Orange Cookies, Chocolate Drop Cookies, and Royal Butterscotch Cake. Written in fountain pen in Grandma's neat hand, the recipe for Pecan Squares is not a clipping from the usual "ladies' pages" but from a presumed friend or relative, Alice Johnson in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The recipe for Pecan Squares had immediate appeal as I prepared for the Fourth of July -- the simple ingredients were on hand, the finished dish would be portable and interesting (hopefully) to the parade-goers at the annual LaPorte, Indiana Parade.
Pecan Squares -- Alice Johnson, St. Paul, Minnesota
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans (Kate used 1/2 cup nuts & 1/2 cup oatmeal)
Spread 1/2 in thick
Bake at 350 about 25 minutes. 8x8 pan. 325
I am not sure who Kate is but I followed her amendment to the recipe -- half old-fashioned rolled oats and half chopped pecans. I was tempted to throw in a handful of chocolate chips as well but I figured I'd stay true to the written recipe for now.
The batter came together easily, no mixer required, but I did make sure to thoroughly beat the eggs with a wire whisk to be sure everything would successfully incorporate. After all, there is no liquid in the recipe except the two eggs. I smushed the resulting dough into an 8x8 foil pan greased with cooking spray and baked it at 325 (to be safe) for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes the dough was not quite done in the middle so I cranked the heat back up to the original 350 for ten more minutes. The squares were then done -- edges pulling away from the sides of the pan, the middle passed the toothpick test. I bammed the pan with powdered sugar (why not?), cut into 16 small squares and packed them for the next day's events.
At the parade I presented the Pecan Squares and with the mere mention of the recipe's name I received immediate feedback -- friend Kristin's mom declared Pecan Squares to be delicious and she knew the exact recipe. Interesting! Perhaps this was a hidden gem in the notebook -- a proven tried and true that has transcended generations?
One bite and I knew the answer....chewy, caramelized flavor...the crunch of the pecans plus the substance of the oats....I knew I had a winner. A quick pass around the group and the pan was quickly downsized to murmurs of praise. The bars also were not too sweet -- a developed trend I've seen in the notebook -- but just right. This is easily in the permanent file and next time I'll add chocolate chips.
Soup Can Score -- FIVE cans out of five!