PIE BARS!

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I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs called Smitten Kitchen. “Not Derby Pies” is how they are named on Smitten Kitchen’s site however I have chosen to re-name them PIE BARS! The crust really is simple but very tasty indeed and the topping is similar to Blondies and is deliciously gooey and almost reminiscent of caramel! YUM!

I did double the recipe and that was a very good decision, considering we sampled more than we should have, before our guests arrived in time for Shabbos dinner:)

(To double this, and make in a 9×13 pan, use 3 whole eggs, instead of 2 eggs plus 2 yolks. The bars will be ever-so-slightly thicker, but should not need any more baking time. Oats make a fine substitute for nuts in gooey pies, just replace with the same volume of old-fashioned oats and do toast them first. )

Yield: 16 2-inch square bars (the following recipe is not the doubled version)

Crust
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1/4 cup granulated (50 grams) or powdered (30 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine

Filling
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional) ( I omitted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces or 130 grams) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
3/4 cup toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
Flaky sea salt on top, if desired

Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet. A little nonstick spray underneath helps keep the strips in place. (If you have an 8-inch square springform, you can skip this and just butter it lightly.)

Make the crust: Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks, and add it to the bowl, then run the machine until the mixture forms large clumps — that’s right, just keep running it; it might take another 30 seconds for it to come together, but it will. Transfer the dough clumps to prepared baking pan and press it evenly across the bottom and 1/4-inch up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes, until very pale golden. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

Make the filling: Melt your butter and, if desired, brown it too, by continuing to cook the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown bits form at the bottom, about 5 minutes. Transfer butter to a large bowl and let it cool; you can hasten this along by setting it in the freezer for a couple minutes or stirring it over an ice water bath.

Whisk sugars into butter until smooth, then egg, (edited to add) yolk, salt, bourbon (if using) and vanilla. Stir in flour until just combined, then mix in chocolate and nuts. Pour over par-baked crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt before baking, if desired.

Bake bars: For 20 to 25 minutes, until top is firm and golden. Bars are much easier to cut if you let them cool almost completely. Serve plain, with whipped cream or a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Store at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for longer.

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