I started making this recipe without taking the time to read any of the online reviews - that was a mistake. I nearly had a disaster on my hands, but thankfully I was able to correct the problem before I made a terrible mess...
The recipe starts innocently enough - make the shortbread crust. This was a breeze, especially using my favorite BeaterBlade attachment.
Pressing the shortbread crust into the 12x18x1-inch sheet pan was a little time consuming and messy because the dough was so soft and wet that I had to continually dip my hands in flour between each and every press.
This is the point in the process when I started to question whether or not all that pecan filling was going to fit in the pan without overflowing...
After the crust emerged from it's prebake session, I noticed it had puffed up quite a bit. In other words, now there was even less room for the filling! This is when I KNEW there was no way the crust was going to be able to contain 1 pound of butter, 1 cup of honey, 3 cups of brown sugar, and 2 pounds of chopped pecans... ABSOLUTELY NO WAY!!
So I put the recipe on hold while I went online to read the reviews. Many people did indeed end up with a horrible mess in their ovens, but some thought ahead a lined their sheet pans with foil, building up the sides of their pans - an excellent idea, but it was too late for me to line my pan - the crust was already prebaked. So I had to come up with a Plan B.
I topped my prebaked crust with a spare sheet pan, flipped everything upside down, and removed the original sheet pan. The crust released perfectly without breaking - so far, so good.
Then I added several strips of foil...
Placed the original sheet pan back in place...
And flipped it all right side up again.
Voila - a foil-lined sheet pan, sides built up, topped with the prebaked crust.
After crimping the corners closed, I felt much better about pouring all that ooey-gooey filling onto the crust and sending it off to bubble in my oven for 25 minutes. I'll use two 9x13-inch cake pans in the future.
The filling was extremely easy to make. Just bring the butter, sugar, honey, and zests to a full boil for 3 minutes...
Stir in the heavy cream and pecans...
And pour the mixture on top of the crust and bake.
Cool, chill, cut, and serve - delicious!
makes 54 squares (2x2-inch) - recipe can also be baked in two 9x13 cake pans
1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, softened (yes pounds, not sticks)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 extra large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 pound unsalted butter
3 cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 350F.
Make the crust by combining the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Use the paddle attachment or BeaterBlade, mix for 3 minutes.
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter/sugar mixture on low speed just until all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
Bake crust for 15 minutes and cool while preparing the filling.
Make the filling by combining the butter, honey, and brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils; continue to boil for 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream and chopped pecans.
Pour mixture over the crust and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Cool until set; wrap well with plastic and refrigerate.
Cut and serve.
My Notes - I would decrease the shortbread crust by half next time. These are yummy drizzled with chocolate. You might also be interested in my Vanilla Nut Bars which makes one 9x13-inch pan.
adapted from Ina Garten