German Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars

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Even after making numerous pecan pies for Thanksgiving, I’ve still got plenty of pecans left from this year’s crop produced by the big tree out back. With that in mind, I ran across a recipe in a recent Southern Living magazine for pecan pie bars and decided to give it a try. Like most every recipe I find, my end result varies a little because I’ll add a little of this or a dash of that; anything I think will improve the end result.

These are delicious! If you’re looking for something different to take to a party or give as a gift this year, give these tasty bars a try!

  • 3 cups pecan halves and pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted sweet cream butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup good quality bourbon (I used Knob Creek)
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

First, preheat your oven to 350F. Arrange the pecans in a single layer on a sheet pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9″x13″ pyrex dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving 2-3 inches on each side to extend over the sides of the pan. Lightly grease the foil (I just spray with Pam).

In a food processor, pulse the flour, powdered sugar, cold cubed butter and cocoa 5-6 times, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender tool or even your hands. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of your glass dish.

Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the crust with the chocolate morsels. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack (about 30 minutes).

While the crust is cooling, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, bourbon and the eggs until smooth. Stir in the coconut and toasted pecans and spoon mixture into the cooled crust.

Bake at 325F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour), then chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Lift the baked bars from the pan using the aluminum foil sides as a handle. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into bars. Peel off the foil and enjoy!

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Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies

These cookies are my favorite! I don’t have a “recently prepared” photo to show them off but I found this stock photo that’s pretty close to the finished cookie. These cookies almost remind me of gingerbread but they are better. As soon as I make a batch, I’ll post a better picture. This recipe was written in my great grandmother’s (Fortunata Vizzina Schilleci) hand.

  • 2 pounds all purpose flour (4 cups)
  • 1 pound of sugar (2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp each, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 pound Shortening (1 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp)
  • 1 pint milk, heated
  • 1 cup raisins (no color specified)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • juice from 2 fresh squeezed oranges

Melt the shortening; add the warm milk, then the sugar. Sift all remaining dry ingredients together and then add the pecans and raisins. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Pinch off in a small ball the size of large marbles, place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Combine the powdered sugar and orange juice in a bowl. Once cookies have cooled, dip each cookie into the sugar glaze so that it covers the top 1/2 of the cookie. Let cookies dry completely. Icing will set like glaze on a cooled doughnut.

Makes 60-75 cookies.

Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies

This has to be one of the easiest Christmas cookie recipes ever! They are delicious though, which makes it that much better that they are so easy to make.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 3oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • Candied cherries or toasted pecan halves for garnish
  • Dusting of powdered sugar (optional)

Cream the butter and cream cheese; slowly add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Add the flour and vanilla, mixing well with a large spoon. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Shape the dough into 1″ balls with your hands, and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Gently press a candied cherry half (red or green, or mix them up) or a toasted pecan half into the top of each cookie. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cookie won’t take on much color on top, but will be golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. If desired, sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar.

Bourbon Fruitcake Cookies

I’ll admit it, I think fruitcake is just plain disgusting, but fruitcake cookies are a whole different ballgame. These cookies have “just enough cake” to hold all the ingredients together. Be prepared.. mixing these cookies takes a strong arm because of the thickness of your “dough” but they are well worth the effort. This is also a “pricey” recipe to run out and gather ingredients for, so I usually start buying the ingredients as fall approaches and stores start stocking holiday baking supplies. I highly recommend trying this recipe if you have the time, or the desire. You can always give tins of fresh baked cookies as gifts to your friends and they are ideal hostess presents for any Christmas parties you attend.

  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup strong bourbon (I use 101 proof Wild Turkey)
  • 6 slices candied pineapple, chopped
  • 1 cup candied red cherries, chopped
  • 1 cup candied green cherries, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped dates
  • 1-15oz package of golden raisins
  • 7 cups chopped pecans

Combine the butter and sugar, mixing well. Add the eggs and beat well. Combine all dry ingredients; add the butter/sugar mixture to the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and mixing well after each addition. Stir in the bourbon, fruit and the nuts and mix well to incorporate. Drop heaping teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 300F for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies.