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Maple-Pecan Streusel Bars The aroma of maple, cinnamon, and toasted pecans fills my kitchen, while my breakfast bakes in the oven. What? Cookies for breakfast? You betcha! With a streusel topping, reminiscent of favorite coffee cakes, these buttery bars are the perfect bites of sweetness to accompany that first hot cup of coffee or tea in the morning. But, don’t stop there. Imagine biting into one of these crunchy and nutty treats while sipping that last calming hot drink of the day.

Maple-Pecan Streusel Bars
The Art of the Cookie by Shelly Kaldunski

INGREDIENTS
Bars:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1½ cups pecans, finely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for coating
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons maple extract

Vanilla Glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
Bars:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the long sides.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and pecans.

3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the 1 cup butter, the brown sugar, and the confectioner’s sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beating on low speed, add the flour mixture and maple extract and continue to beat just until incorporated. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.

4. Transfer 3 cups of the dough to the prepared pan. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press the dough evenly into the pan, lifting the parchment occasionally to make sure that it doesn’t stick. The dough should be firmly packed, without holes or cracks. Remove top paper. Cover evenly with the remaining dough, sprinkling it over the top and squeezing some of the dough to form large clumps.

5. Bake until lightly golden, 16-18 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Run a metal spatula around the edges of the pan. Drizzle with the glaze and let set for at least 10 minutes. Using a chef’s knife, cut into 18 bars.

6. Store the bars in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment paper, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes 18 bars

Vanilla Glaze:
1. Sift the sugar into a bowl. Add the milk and vanilla and stir until completely smooth, about 1 minute.

2. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature or warm slightly before using.

Makes about 1/2 cup

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I baked it almost 6 minutes longer, to get that light golden brown color.

2. For ease of serving and a prettier presentation, I cut the bars into 1½-inch-by-1½-inch squares and served them in shallow cupcake papers. I got about 30 bars this way.

Enjoy!

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