Thanksgiving harvest and Pecan Moonshine Bars

I dug up the entire side of the bed looking for any missing sweet potatoes.

I had this wonderful plan that I was going to harvest the sweet potatoes I have been lovingly tending for six months and cook them for Thanksgiving dinner. Boy am I glad I waited until after I pulled them out of the ground before telling my mother-in-law not to buy sweet potatoes.

How shall I cook them?

Can you see the black spots? That’s further evidence of nematodes. I guess I should be happy I got any of edible size at all. We brought them with us for Thanksgiving but I haven’t cooked them yet. I want to find a way to really honor those tiny sweet potatoes, the first sweet potatoes I have ever grown.

This year I convinced my mother-in-law to let me bring the desserts. I had baked a beautiful Seminole pumpkin on Saturday for two or three pumpkin pies, but the puree soured in the fridge sometime between Saturday and Wednesday evening. Apparently fresh pumpkin puree has to be used immediately or frozen, it just doesn’t keep very long. (Thank you Stefanie Hamblen for telling me, it’s not a mistake I’ll make again.) So the homemade pumpkin pies ended up coming from Publix, but I did make some really incredible Pecan Bars.

Pecans just came into season here a few weeks ago, and I’ve already bought three pounds and only have a half of one baggie left. I LOVE pecans. Last year I didn’t buy nearly enough. This year I’m going to buy at least a pound every time I go to the market, and then hopefully stock the freezer before they disappear again.

Pecan Moonshine Bars

Based on this recipe from Baking Without a Box

Alachua County Pecans... $7 a pound at the 441 Farmer's Market

3/4 c atta, or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 c jaggery or any raw sugar
1/2 c pecan meal or finely chopped pecans
6 tbl cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Heat oven to 350. Pulse this in the food processor until it’s like sand. Press the crumbs into the bottom and bake for 20 minutes or until barely golden brown.

4 tbl butter, melted
1/2 c jaggery or other raw sugar
1/3 c unrefined cane syrup, honey, maple syrup or agave (I used half honey and half cane syrup)
2 tbl Midnight Moon “apple pie” moonshine or any other liquor you have, like bourbon or rum
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 c pecans, picked over for shells and coarsely chopped

Combine the butter through the egg and whisk in a bowl until completely combined. Stir in the pecans, then pour the filling over the hot crust and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges have just begun to brown. Check frequently, these can go from golden to burned very quickly.

Big fat pecans!

These need to be served from the pan since the pecan sandie-like crust is very crumbly. These were a little too sweet for my taste, especially the base layer, but I love the strong toasted-pecan flavor and the hint of cinnamon from the moonshine.

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