First of all thank you so much for voting for Pies and Plots in The Kitchn’s The Homies Best Sweets and Baking Blog Contest! Your support means so much to me <3 I finished in fourth place. While I didn’t technically win, I feel like a winner thanks to all of you. I mean who would have thought this little blog could compete with all the others out there?!? I can already tell this is going to be an awesome year!
Here in the Detroit area Fat Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day. If you are unfamiliar with them, paczki are big, yeast doughnuts typically filled with jelly or custard and coated with glaze or sugar. They are buttery, dense, soft, and pillowy. The best jelly doughnut you’ll ever have. At least that’s what people say and what I remember from being a kid.
Last year, Mom, Dad, and I went to Hamtramck, the paczki capital, to pick up some super authentic and sure to be delicious paczki from one of the best bakeries that make the time consuming treats. It was a cold, snowy day, but it was gonna be so worth it to sink our teeth into these glorious goodies.
The bakery wasn’t that crowded since we went the weekend before Paczki Day, as wait times on the actual day routinely exceed an hour. It smelled intoxicating and they looked great. I could barely wait until after dinner for my treat.
But wait I did, and when I took that first bite . . . I was not impressed. They were hard and chewy, almost like bread. There wasn’t enough glaze. Or was there any at all? And the jam tasted like nothing. I tore open almost all of the paczki, hoping one of them would be good, but they just weren’t. How could this be possible? Even the guys at Dad’s work were unimpressed when he took in the leftovers.
This year, I figured I’d stick to my own treats (though Brown Eyed Baker’s Paczki are on my list for next year!), so I made Pecan Bars and I am so glad I did. These are the best Fat Tuesday treat ever! The crust is so buttery and crumbly, and then there’s that filling. Gooey and caramel-y with tons of toasty pecans. I kept taking little tastes of these bars just to make sure they were good Plus, I found these really easy to make. I think Paczki Day just became Pecan Bar Day!
1 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cold water
1 stick unsalted butter, very soft, almost melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan and line with parchment. Butter the parchment.
Make the crust. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers or a pastry cutter until it is in pea sized pieces. Add the water and continue working the dough until it comes together when pressed. Firmly press the dough in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes.
While the crust bakes, make the filling. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, and vanilla until fully combined and all streaks of butter are gone. Stir in flour until just incorporated. Stir in the pecans until fully coated.
Pour the pecan mixture over the baked crust and spread into an even layer. Return to the oven and bake for about 30 additional minutes. Cool bars completely in the pan. Once cool, cut bars and store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Bars may also be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Claire Robinson
Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!
Cocktails & Other Beverages:
- The Hurricane Cocktail Recipe from An Appealing Plan
- The French 75 from Kimchi MOM
- Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Fried Oysters and Remoulade from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Shrimp in Mustard Sauce from Noshing With The Nolands
- Mini Sweet Potato Pies from MealDiva
- Cajun Crab Beignets from Delaware Girl Eats
- Pancetta and Mushroom Arancini from Ruffles & Truffles
- Creole Shrimp Po Boy Recipe from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Chicken and Sausage Gumbo from Supper for a Steal
- Sausage & Shrimp Jambalaya from Yours And Mind Are Ours
- Vegan Pizza Waffles from Killer Bunnies, Inc.
- Red Beans and Rice from Cookin’ Mimi
- Baked Catfish Po’Boy from Curious Cuisiniere
- Muffaletta from Casa de Crews
- Bayou Seafood and Andouille Jambalaya from The Weekend Gourmet
- Seafood Gumbo from Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Cajun Rice & Beans from Momma’s Meals
- Creole Celery Root Bisque (with Lobster) from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Louisiana Roasted Barbecue Shrimp from Food Lust People Love
- Cajun Dirty Rice Bowls from The Dinner-Mom
- New Orleans Fried Chicken from Family Foodie
- Baked Endive and Pears in Blue Cream Sauce from Shockingly Delicious
- Okra Creole from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Banana Creme Pie with Honey Whipped Cream and Pecan Brittle from The Foodie Patootie
- Chocolate Ganache Tart from Melanie Makes
- Banana Bread Pudding from Gotta Get Baked
- Delicious Saffron Baked Beignets from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- New Orleans Bread Pudding with Caramel Whiskey Sauce from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Polish Paczki from Cravings of a Lunatic
- Buttermilk Beignets from The Messy Baker
- Eggless Bread Pudding in a Jar from What Smells So Good?
- Mint Julep Bars from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Mardi Gras Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Frostingfrom Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Mardi Gras Long Johns from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Mexican Chocolate Coffee Cake from La Cocina de Leslie
- Fasnetküchle from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Cheesecake Swirl Brownies from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pecan and Chocolate Pralines from Desserts Required
- Chocolate Raspberry Cake from Clarks Condensed
- Baked Coconut Beignets from Mess Makes Food
- Ravioli dolci di Carnevale from Manu’s Menu
- Strawberry Paczki from Neighborfood
- Blackberry Fritters from girlichef
- Brownie Chocolate Chip Cheesecake from Magnolia Days
- Flourless Chocolate Cake in a Mug w/ Coconut Cream from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Pecan Bars from Pies and Plots
- “Skinny Tuesday” Bananas Foster Cheesecake Parfaits from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Mocha Pear Cake from Happy Baking Days
- Skinny Baked Beignets from Daily Dish Recipes
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