Pecan Praline Bars
½ c. butter (no substitutes), room temperature
¼ t. salt
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 c. flour
2 ½ c. large pecan halves
Prepare a 9 x 13 pan as follows: Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Turn the pan upside down. Center the foil over the pan shiny side down, and with your hands, press down on the sides and corners to shape the foil to fit the pan. Remove the foil. Run a little bit of tap water into the pan to wet it all over. Pour out all but about a tablespoon of the water (the water helps to hold the foil in place). Then place the foil in the pan and press it against the bottom and sides. Do not butter the foil.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until soft. Add salt, brown sugar and flour and beat for a minute or two, until the ingredients form tiny crumbs that will hold together when you press the mixture between your fingers. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the mixture to form a level layer in the pan, and then press down firmly to form a compact layer. Let stand.
Place the pecan halves touching each other – flat sides down – all in the same direction, to cover the bottom layer. (For a time saver, you could also just chop the pecans and sprinkle them, but using half pecans gives a prettier presentation.) Let stand.
1 ½ sticks butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
Place ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over high heat until mixture comes to a hard boil all over the surface. Continue to stir over the heat for 30 seconds longer. Remove the pan from heat and pour the hot mixture all over the pecans, trying to coat the entire surface. Bake for 22 minutes. Remove and cool. When cool, refrigerate for at least an hour. You can pull the entire pan of cookies out by the foil, peel the foil off, and cut into bars. Serve at room temperature.