Oops, I Did It Again

I guess Iím going to have to issue a public apology to my husband for telling everyone about our oven mishap.† It seems he received several phone calls, e-mails and a few personal visits from well meaning friends questioning his handyman skills.† Let me just say right here and now, Iím really, really sorry honey, you know youíll always be my favorite handyman.†† Just try to remember to stay away from my oven in the future.††

Donít you just love it when a little oops at the grocery store turns out to be a good thing?†† A couple of days ago, while perusing the internet for great culinary ideas, I ran across a delicious sounding recipe for Toffee Pecan Bars.†† The recipe had a traditional shortbread crust with something similar to a pecan pie topping with toffee chips stirred in.† Canít go wrong with that I thought.††

Well, I went to the store to pick up the ingredients to make the bars and the store didnít have toffee chips.† Arrg!!† They did; however, have several other kinds of chips such as mint, chocolateł peanut butter, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and semi-sweet.† None of these had the unusual toffee flavor I was looking for.† Then I noticed a package of butterscotch chips.† Hmmm, this looks promising.

I decided this might be a fun experiment for my students, so I took a chance.† I shanghaied two of my students into tackling the recipe and gave them instructions to substitute the butterscotch chips for the toffee chips.† The girls were not too experienced in crust making so they had a little trouble with the shortbread crust.† It seems they werenít familiar with the term ďcut inĒ.† So needless to say, our first batch of crust was a little tough.

After we worked through what ďcut inĒ means, things were looking up.† FYI, in order for these bars to have a light crust, bakers should leave little bits of butter in with the flour and sugar.† This way, when the butter melts in the oven and the flour and sugar start to set, there will be tiny air pockets from where the fat melted away.† This allows for light and flaky crusts.† It works the same way with traditional pie crusts.† The more you work the dough, the more you incorporate the fat into the dry goods, thus a tougher crust.

It was so much fun watching them work through the crust difficulty.† They got the second batch right and everyone in the kitchen came over to see what smelled so good.† We had some Butterfinger ice cream left over from another project and we whipped up a batch of chocolate sauce to drizzle on top.† Oh my, itís my new favorite cookie bar.† Hope itís yours too.

Butterscotch Pecan Bars

2 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup butter

1 Ė 14 oz can sweetened

†condensed milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans

8 oz. butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 350í.

Mix together flour and sugar in a medium bowl.† With a fork, cut in chilled butter until crumbly.† Press mixture into an ungreased 9x13 pan.† Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla until smooth.† Stir in pecans and chips.† Spread over hot crust.† Bake for an additional 25 minutes.† Cool and cut into bars.

† Jenean Perryman is the Culinary Arts Instructor at Northeast Technology Center Afton Campus.† Email Jenean at