Jan Norris: Food and Florida

Food, Restaurants, Recipes and Pre-Disney Florida

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Aberdeen East Folks Put on a ‘Collation’

April 21st, 2009 · 1 Comment

I meet a lot of great folks at my speaking engagements and all the judging I do, but it was old homeweek at Aberdeen East County Club in west Boynton Beach, where I’d spoken years before. The friendliest residents anywhere out west came to hear me chat, answer their questions and then partake of a collation.

That’s an interesting term for what I’d call a pot-luck lunch.

One of the residents used the phrase — and said she doesn’t hear the term here – but in the Northeast , it was used frequently to describe a pulled-together small meal.

It has a variety of definitions — but “a light meal to break the fast”, or “a meal eaten on fasting days,” seemsto be the basis for it.

Perhaps we Southerners don’t use the term because we rarely fast – nor are our meals so light.

This one consisted of bagels, cream cheese, whitefish (silly me — I thought it was tuna salad), fruits, a few desserts and beverages.

The Aberdeen group also had a small tribute to me in the foyer — my last food section on display from The Post, which contained a recipe they made just for me at this collation.

pecan-diamondsIt’s Pecan Brickle Bars from Sarah Applegate of Palm Beach Gardens — one of the cookie winners from The Post’s cookie contest. I must say that it remains a favorite of cooks — I’m asked for the recipe all the time — so here you are.

Pecan Brickle Bars

Notes: I make these as gifts; they’re too rich for an everyday bake job. Don’t skimp on the nuts — and don’t try substitutions without asking me first. And don’t let the pecans burn when you toast them, but do toast them properly.

For crust:

  • 11/2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon cream, more as needed

For topping:

  • 3 cups chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 21/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Generously grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan or coat with nonstick spray.

To make the crust: In medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender or forks, cut the butter until the mixture is the consistency of fine meal. Sprinkle cream over the flour mixture. Lightly stir to mix. Gently knead until the mixture holds together. If necessary, add up to 3 teaspoons more cream until the mixture holds together but is not wet. Press the dough in an even layer into baking pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake in middle of oven for 10 minutes or until just tinged with brown at the edges. Cool until warm, about 5 minutes.

To make topping: Spread the pecans in a baking pan in a single layer and toast in the 350 degrees oven for about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir occasionally. Make sure they are nicely browned, but be careful not to burn. Immediately turn into a medium bowl and let cool. Set aside.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and 21/4 cups of the pecans.

Spread the topping evenly over the crust.

Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly, golden brown and just slightly darker at the edges. Cool until just warm. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Let stand until chips melt, then spread the melted chips over the topping. Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cups pecans over the chocolate. Let stand until cool. Using a sharp knife, cut the slab into 32 bars or diamonds. Note: Bars are small, but cookies are rich.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Makes 32 bars.

Tags: Recipes: What's Cooking!

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 JerryK // Apr 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Most of my members called me about your article on theaBERDEEN EAST meeting. we all are still talking about your visit. just great, and very informative. one correction. you mentioned THE ABERDEEN EAST COUNTRY CLUB.
    IT IS “THE ABERDEEN EAST GOURMET CLUB”
    We are all forward to your visit again soon to our club in 2010… In the mean time we will visit your web page often, very often as it to is vary informative. Sincerely, Jerry kahn, President

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