I cringe to think of all the pans and platters and molds of baked goods that wind up in the trash can because they didn't turn out exactly right. If one really takes a moment to collect herself after this initial failure, chances are good that she'll find a way to redeem herself, her food, and her kitchen prowess.
I definitely needed more than a moment to gather my wits after this episode of baking trauma. I made some pecan pie bars (a tried, true, and well-reviewed recipe, mind you), foolishly substituting a caramel sauce for thicker, sturdier corn syrup. As you can well imagine, the pan I pulled out of the oven was a sloppy mess.
What to do, what to do? Throwing them away didn't even cross my mind--those pecans are expensive, darn it! My rescue plan involved making a simple and straightforward yellow cake and scattering blobs of the failed pecan pie bars throughout.
It worked like a charm, I'm happy to report. Granted, the dollops of goo promptly sunk to the bottom of the cake and remained there, but that just made them a nice surprise not visible before digging in.
Pecan Pie Bar Cake
(born of necessity and this recipe)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
To make the crust, beat the flour, butter, and brown sugar in small mixer bowl until crumbly. Press into prepared baking pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
To make the filling, beat the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in medium bowl with a whisk. Stir in the chips and nuts and pour evenly over the baked crust. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
Should bars be an impossible dream, mix up the cake as instructed, pour the batter into a 9 x 13-inch pan, and plop the hunks of pecan pie goo here, there, and everywhere. Bake as directed.