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Crevolyn Wiley: Pronunciation of pecan does not matter; taste does
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It’s the age old question. Is the correct pronunciation of the word pecan, “pee-can” or “puh-kan?”

Some would say it depends on what neck of the woods you’re from in the South. Others would say it is how your momma and them said it when you were growing up.

Either way, pecans are great for cooking or as a snack. I love to toast pecans and sprinkle them with a little sea salt. They are filling as well as heart healthy since they contain very little saturated fat.

Researchers suggest because of the nut’s significant content of vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, adding a handful of pecans to your diet each day may help prevent heart disease. In addition to containing 19 vitamins and minerals, pecans are also a natural, high-quality source of protein. They contain very few carbohydrates and no cholesterol. So anyway you crack it, pecans are good food.

While having a handful of pecans is always an option, adding them can enhance a lot of different dishes. The distinctive sweet, rich, nutty taste of pecans works well with fish, chicken and cheese. The crunchy texture gives breads, soups, casseroles and salads an extra zing. I’m not sure I could get through Thanksgiving without sweet potato casserole topped with pecans and marshmallows. 

Of course, pecans are always a dessert favorite. The classic pecan pie, butter pecan ice cream, pecan pound cake, pecan squares ... the list goes on and on.

These German chocolate pecan pie bars have been around many years in my kitchen. It combines the best of two worlds into an amazing flavor combination.

Whether you’re in the “pee-can” camp or the “puh-kan” camp doesn’t really matter. What matters is you enjoy the good things in life. So pour yourself a glass of cold milk or cup of hot coffee, put your feet up and have one of these bars.

German chocolate pecan pie bars

* 3 cups pecan halves

* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

* 3/4 cup powdered sugar

* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

* 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

* 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

* 3 eggs

* 3/4 cup light brown sugar

* 3/4 cup light corn syrup

* 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

* 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange pecans in a single layer of a baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir hallway through baking.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two short sides. Spray the foil with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, sugar and cocoa. Add cold butter and combine with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small pebbles. Press mixture into bottom and up about 3/4-inch sides of prepared pan.

Bake crust for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over crust. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

Place eggs in a large 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 28-32 minutes or until edges are golden and filling has set. Cool on a wire rack.

Refrigerate for at least an hour. Using the foil overhang, lift bars from pan and place on cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.

Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at crevolyn.wiley@jandjfoods.com.

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