Two of my husband’s favorite desserts are German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting and Pecan Pie made from the old fashioned Karo Syrup recipe. When I saw a recipe on the web for these yummy sounding bars, I knew I had to give them a try. I love to bake, or to be more honest, I love to eat baked goods. But I’m truly into cutting corners whenever I can and making substitutions for whatever I may have on hand. It just so happened that I had a German Chocolate Cake mix on hand so instead of mixing all the ingredients for the cake which calls for unsweetened cocoa (which I have never had, bought, or even know really what is it–what’s the point if the chocolate isn’t sweet?) I decided to use the cake mix instead.
Yield: 24 bars (about 2-inch square)
3 cups pecan halves
1 German Chocolate Cake Mix
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 & 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or whatever chocolate you have on hand, or you can just omit then if you prefer)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Preheat oven to 350°.
Arrange pecans in a single layer of a shallow baking pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir halfway through baking. Obviously these pecans are not in a single layer, just all squished together showing other ingredients.
Line bottom and sides of a 9″x 13″ baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two short sides. Grease foil.
Place the cake mix into a medium size bowl and combine butter with a pastry blender or knives or a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. (A pastry blender is definitely on my “to buy” list”.)
Bake crust for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over crust. Allow to cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes.
Place eggs in a large mixing bowl, and beat lightly. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and melted butter. Whisk together until smooth. Stir in coconut and pecans. Pour evenly over partially baked crust.
Bake 28-34 minutes, or until edges are golden and filling has set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Then, refrigerate for an hour.
Using foil overhang, lift bars from pan and place on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.
As I said earlier, I sometimes substitute whatever I have on hand. I didn’t have enough chocolate chips so I mixed milk chocolate chips with grated chocolate almond bark and sprinkled that over the baked crust. Personally, I think the recipe would be fine without any additional chocolate.
Both my husband and my oldest son loved these bars. I started to take them out of the glass pan, but realized it would be just as easy to remove the foil and leave them in the pan. I found it difficult when cutting the bars and cutting through a pecan not to squish the bar. I think next time (and there definitely will be a next time) after I toast the pecans, I will chop them for ease in cutting.
Adapted from Bake or Break German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
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