I love bar cookies for gift giving ,entertaining or just a square with my afternoon tea. Growing up in the mediterrean ,on a island long influenced by the British,High tea was the fashion, Our home economics class even hosted a coffee morning fund raiser with great success, this was the type of pastry we prepared. to save time ,I prepare bar cookies ,when time permits,allow them to cool fully then wrap well in plastic and a freezer bag and free till needed. Just defrost ,warm in the oven and serve.
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter,cut into bits
FOR THE TOPPING
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup light cream
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz semisweet chocolate ,chopped coarse
Preheat oven to 350*F.
In a bowl combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan . Bake in the lower third of the oven for 35 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.
In a heavy saucepan melt the butter, add the dark corn syrup and the brown sugar, and bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat,stirring with a wooden spoon. Boil the mixture stirring ocassionally until the mixture registers 260*F on a candy thermometer.. Remove the pan from heat and add the pecans and cream, stirring gently.Return the pan to heat , bring to boil and cook to 240*F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat ,stir in the chocolate and vanilla,stir till chocolate melts.
Pour topping into shortbread base,spread with knife.Allow to cool completely ,for about 2 hours ,before cutting into 2 inch squares.