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Homemade Pretzels

I haven't made homemade pretzels since we were in Alabama and I had forgotten how easy they are if not a little time consuming. I made these last week for Oscar night. They keep a long time in an airtight container. 1   (.25 ounce) package   active dry yeast 1 tablespoons   brown sugar 1  teaspoons   salt 1 ½   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 3   cups   all-purpose flour 1   cup   bread flour 2   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 2   tablespoons   baking soda 1-2   tablespoons   butter, melted 2   tablespoons  kosher salt Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Place the yeast, brown sugar and salt in the 1.5 cups of warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in the flour. Knead for about 7-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let it rise for an hour (I place mine in the oven with the light on). Combine the two cups of warm water with the baking soda in a square shallow pan. After the dough has risen, cut it into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each section into a

Georgia Pecan Bars

Pecan Pie will always remind me of my childhood and family holidays. At every family gathering, it was inconceivable that there not be a pecan pie. Of course, my mother, aunts and grandmothers made other great desserts as well but there would always be pecan pie. In the past, I've made Pecan Tassies which I think is similar if not the same as this recipe. This is like a pecan pie in miniature, much easier to eat in bite-size pieces. It is a bit different though in that the filling is more firm and there are no ground nuts in the filling.

These are easy to make and I just used a hand mixer. I would follow the directions on cutting the bars carefully to avoid disappointment. The only problem I encountered was that the filling seeped underneath the foil lining in the pan. There was probably a tear and Maida Heatter advises you to press the foil into place with a folded towel or pot holder. It did not affect the outcome of the bars but I had to use a spatula to get the corner unstuck.

The recipe makes 32 bars. 

Georgie Pecan Bars (adapted from Maida Heatter)


1 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 oz. (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan with foil. Brush melted butter over the foil and up the sides.

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Stir in the sugar. Add the butter into the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender and combine until it resembles fine meal. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and press it down firmly. Set aside and prepare the filling.


2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup dark corn syrup (light syrup is ok as well - it is what I used)
3 TBS. sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups pecan halves (do not cut them)

Beat the eggs lightly and add the vanilla, sugar, corn syrup and flour, beating until smooth.

Pour the topping over the crust, making sure that the mixture covers it evenly and completely. Place the pecan halves over the top. You can also grind the nuts if you wish and sprinkle them over the top. Placing the whole nuts on top is a bit time-consuming so you might want to elicit some help.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, reversing the pan halfway during baking. The cake may puff up during baking. Keep and eye on it and if this happens, you can prick it with a fork or toothpick and release the air. Bake until golden brown. Do not overbake.

Cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, then invert onto a rack and carefully remove the pan and peel off the foil. Let the cake cool completely, then place it in the freezer for about a half hour. Remove from the freezer and use a serrated knife to cut the cake into bars or squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or you can freeze them. 

 Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. It looks delicious and easy to make. If I ever baked anything, this would be the one :-)


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