Orange Blossom Pecan Bars

There are a few desserts that cross my path that make me want to excuse myself from the room and lick my plate in private.  These gooey bar cookies are amazing.  Melissa of Dallas, an amazing cook whom I know from the recipe swap, shared this recipe. I am forever in her debt.

(original recipe) from 2003 Dallas Morning News Christmas Cookie Contest Winner for Bars from Kim Rollings

Orange Blossom Pecan Bars

Crust:
¾ c softened butter
¾ c sifted confectioners sugar
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp finely grated orange zest

Filling – Part 1:

¾ c orange marmalade (the stiff kind of marmalade is best. If yours is more loose, then omit the orange juice)
1 T orange juice

Filling – Part 2:

2 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tablespoons flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 F.   Line a 10 x 8 pan with parchment on the bottom.

Use pastry blender or food processor to combine the crust ingredients until they hold together. Press into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Leave oven on.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.  Beat the eggs for about a minute, then add brown sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in flour & leavening. Add pecans and mix well.

In a separate small bowl, combine the marmalade and orange juice.

When crust has been removed from oven, spread marmalade mixture over crust to edges. Gently spoon pecan mixture over marmalade and and spread with rubber spatula to edges. Return cookies to oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes until top is nicely browned.

Cool and cut into 24 bars. Recipe calls for garnishing each with a dab of melted white chocolate & a small decorative piece of orange slice candy but they are terrific just as they are.

*****

This recipe has me thinking of making a pecan pie with this marmalade layer.  I will be sure to let you know if I give this a try.

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