NEW ORLEANS —
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, leveled
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup Confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
- 12 Tbsp. butter
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 2 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
- 3 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
Cover a 9-inch square baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil or parchment paper. Push foil neatly into corners and up sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to ensure it overlaps all edges. Spray lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Place the flour, cornstarch, confectioners sugar and salt in a bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size clumps of butter within. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the bottom. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. While the crust is in the refrigerator, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the crust until crust is set but not browned, about 17 minutes. Set on rack to cool. Leave oven on.
In a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil gently for 3 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and chopped pecans.
Pour pecan mixture over crust. Bake until filling is bubbling and caramel in color, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on rack. To cut, use the parchment paper/foil overhang to lift baked square out of pan and onto cutting board. Loosen the foil from the edges, then cut with a sharp knife into bars. Store finished pecan squares in air-tight container and serve at room temperature.