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Saving My Cheer and Caramel-Pecan Bars from Food and Wine

2009 December 18

Christmas is a week away. I am saving my cheer for home-this week sucked. If you read the week before, I was pretty dang cheery and I’d like to let you know what happened since then. (Warning: jump to the bottom for the recipe if you don’t want to read my complaints.)

I had an entire week where every morning involved me having to contact at least one (if not more) companies to fix something that shouldn’t have come up (i.e. things I’ve taken care of long ago because I’m hypervigilant about bills and current information). Keep in mind, some of these are ongoing irritants, things that I’ve had a long history of dealing with and am tired of encountering. Such as:

The DMV- always a joy when they tell you your vehicle plates don’t exist in the state (the ones on the car we’re driving 1500 miles over the next few weeks while home) and that they don’t know where your title/registration is for your new car that the dealer was supposed to turn in (and says he did)…although the same rep I talked to provided me with incorrect info in the past so I don’t know how much I trust that person to help and it’s supposed to take 6 to 8 weeks for things to be changed and we have the paperwork we’ve been told “suffices” as the title for now, it’s probably in process

The car dealer- found out he wasn’t such a nice guy after several suspicious incidents came up this week; the car is mechanically fine but he didn’t disclose some pertinent info and gave us a speech about making him aware of as much as we can for our trade-in because he had concerns about the check engine light being on for a sensor that has nothing to do with driving or maintenance…come to find out, the car he sold us, has the exact same issue that his “honest” self didn’t disclose and it cost us about $50 to find out they had re-set the check engine light and that it’s going to stay on (fine by me but let me know, I’m aware that Subarus do this with their emission issues but they are still amazing vehicles)

The mechanic- the check engine light came on the same day we were told the car checked out great, requiring us to go back the next day to get it checked again and be charged to find out it’s nothing (we could’ve gone somewhere for free…we thought we were there)

A credit card company- sometimes our autopay doesn’t work (?) and they try to charge a fee or they don’t credit the account and try to tell us we didn’t pay when it’s on autopay (I have a student loan company that does this every once in a while too but they contact my dad, telling him he has to pay and then there’s confusion…I pay things weeks in advance and don’t appreciate looking like I don’t)

One of the student loan companies- they still don’t have my married name on my account (even though I’ve contacted them at least 4 times about this and each time they “fix” it; this causes problems with the bank account that has my correct married name because sometimes they won’t pay the student loan due to the names not matching but not every month- go figure)

Our car/renter’s insurance rep- after weeks (about a year of problems with her mind you) contacting her about our new car and simply stating we want full coverage for both of our vehicles, she got it wrong….I spelled it out to her, I have written confirmation between us (this was a biggie as it could’ve caused us not to go home and we could’ve been driving around illegally)… it’s fixed (I hope) but this will cost us almost 3x our normal rate (something about the timing) b/c of her mistake (when we get back, we’re contacting another agent)

The credit union that we have the car loan through- wrong address provided by the car dealer so we still haven’t received our coupon book (sent a week ago from the same state we live in) for a payment, which is due while we’re gone and they apparently don’t have a way to pay online …this needs fixed before we leave but I hope someone else gets it and pays for Ru 2 since our coupon book is lost in the mail

USPS- charged me for printing a label that I pressed ‘didn’t print correctly’ on their site; plus, they were saying a package I was expecting arrived but was not to be found so I tried to track it until it actually came the next day with no help from them

Today, the cable/internet company- they still haven’t corrected our account about our services and will charge us double next week although we were signed up 4 weeks ago for a promo offer (making our bill half the price) and when I contacted them they wouldn’t talk to me (after 10 minutes of giving info and being on hold) b/c I’m supposedly not on the account…the account I created and manage (oh and I physically went to their office to make sure I was on it almost a year ago because they told me that last year too)

….plus a few other small things that set me off as though they were larger due to all these issues (this is how my life goes every couple of months)

I feel for anyone else that goes through similar things; I know you are out there. May your holidays be as peaceful and restful as can be and that will be allowed. I will be posting Monday and Tuesday, then taking a break until Monday, January 4th.

Greg’s company had a potluck so I made Caramel-Pecan Bars, found at Food & Wine. These were rich and I would recommend chopping them into bite-sized pieces. They are sticky, chewy bites of goodness. To be honest, they were very decadent so if you like that kind of thing this is definitely for you.

I heard one man took a look at the bars and stated that they look too healthy…that’s hilarious (and he was serious). Look at this recipe and tell me what part is healthy.

The recipe originally asked that the crust go up the side of the pan but I think that would be too difficult, the crust is a bit crumbly for that, so I simply had it on the bottom.

Caramel-Pecan Bars

Caramel-Pecan Bars

Caramel-Pecan Bars from Food & Wine
Makes 16-32 pieces

Ingredients:
Crust:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/4 cup ice water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Topping:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound pecan halves

Crust: In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt, then add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the water and vinegar, process until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Turn the crumbs out onto a sheet of wax paper and knead just until the dough comes together. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until slightly chilled, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 and line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper (to help lift out later). Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of wax paper to fit in the bottom of the pan (about 1/3 inch thick). Place it in the baking pan and refrigerate the dough until firm, about 30 minutes.

Line the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the dough is just set. Remove the parchment paper and weights and bake the crust for about 12 minutes longer, until lightly golden and set. Let cool.

Topping: In a large saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey and salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until foamy and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder (optional) and cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer inserted in the caramel registers 240 (soft ball stage), about 10 minutes longer. Add the pecans and cook for 2 minutes more and pour the filling over the crust, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and the topping is bubbling. Let cool completely. Slide the parchment onto a cutting board. Cut into the bars and serve.

* The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. December 18, 2009

    Goshhh, these looks extremely delishh..luv the picture.

  2. December 19, 2009

    Yikes! What a week! At least, in the kitchen, you’re in control. These look wonderful.

    • December 20, 2009

      That’s why cooking is so important to me. Regardless of how something turns out (which can sometimes be disappointing), I enjoy the time spent doing it.

  3. December 19, 2009

    These really caught my eye…they are beautiful and sound delicious. I’ve tried many pecan bars over the years but never with curry powder…can’t wait to try. thanks!

  4. susan permalink
    December 21, 2009

    have you ever read the children’s book, “alexander and the terrible,horrible, no good, very bad day”?
    sounds like you had one of those weeks….

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