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Pecan and Maple Bars

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Recently, the food critic at The Dallas Morning News was in search of a pecan pie recipe. While she received many recipes from readers, she saw the following in The New York Times. A “pecan pie” in bar form is perfect for New Year’s Day bowl watching.

MAPLE SHORTBREAD BARS
Adapted from ''The New Carryout Cuisine'' by Phyllis Méras with Linda Glick Conway (Houghton Mifflin, 1986)

Time: 55 minutes

For the crust:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup real maple syrup
2 eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans.

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. For crust, combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into slices, and cut in with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. Press into bottom and half an inch up the sides of a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Cool on rack.
2. For filling, combine all ingredients except pecans, and mix until smooth. Pour into cooled crust. Distribute nuts evenly over top. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool on a rack before cutting.
Yield: 39 bars.

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