a very pinterest christmas – salted caramel pecan bars and oreo cookies

Every year when Christmas started to roll around, my Mom would start searching out new baking recipes to make.  Even though everyone only cared about her old standard recipes (shortbread, fudge, chex mix and butter tarts), she had this compulsion to make as many different things as she could find.

My Mom would have loved Pinterest!

Following in her footsteps, I added a couple new treats to my Christmas baking repertoire this year.

The first was an idea so simple that I couldn’t not try it – White Chocolate & Candy Cane covered Oreo Cookies.

{Photo Credit - thanks Susan!}

Since I already had the white chocolate and crushed candy canes for my Christmas Bark, I figured I would give this a try too.

Recipe:

Melt white chocolate, dunk the Oreos in it, shake off the excess, lay them on some parchment paper and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

Voila!

The second recipe was a bit of a gamble, since I have never had good luck making caramel of any kind, but they sounded so good, I decided it was worth the risk – Salted Caramel Pecan Bars.

{Photo Credit - thanks Beth!}

Recipe:

1 cup chopped pecans
12 whole graham crackers
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 10 minutes or until appropriately toasty.

Line a 15- x 10-inch pan with parchment paper. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in prepared pan, slightly overlapping edges*.

Combine sugar, butter, and cream in a medium-size heavy saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and pecans. Pour butter mixture over crackers, spreading to coat.

Bake at 350° for 10 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Immediately sprinkle with salt**, and slide paper from pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely (about 30 minutes). With a knife, cut into bars.***

Variation: Prepare recipe as directed until removal from oven. Once removed from oven, top warm bars with 1 cup dark chocolate morsels. Let stand 3 minutes, and spread chocolate over bars, then sprinkle with salt and proceed with recipe as directed. Chill 20 minutes before serving.

Lessons learned:

*You must use the appropriate sized pan and pack the graham crackers from edge to edge or, once covered in the caramel, the crackers will slide apart

**I used to Fleur de Sel because it sounds fancier and tastes divine

***I had a difficult time separating the goo caramel-soaked graham crackers from the parchment paper, so be careful when you are peeling it from the bottom of your treats.  And I also just broke into pieces rather than cutting with a knife.

I wasn’t a fan of it with the chocolate, but Wilzie suggested just drizzling the dark chocolate over it and not spreading a coat of it over top – and I might give this a try since I will be making more.  This stuff tastes like how I imagine crack to feel, and I must make more.

I think my Mom would have been proud.

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5 thoughts on “a very pinterest christmas – salted caramel pecan bars and oreo cookies

  1. Now I really want to make those oreos. My mom makes something similar to the caramel thing but she makes it with ritz crackers instead of graham crackers. She calls it cracker candy and at first i was skeptical but then I tried it and it’s insanely addictive.

  2. I do this too…make a bunch of recipes every year. And then I eat it all because it always tastes so good.

    I’m going to try those caramel bars…because I always wanted to know what crack felt like.

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