The cookbook has at least four recipes featuring pecans: Southern Pecan Pie, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars, German Chocolate Cake with coconut-pecan frosting and a fresh apple pound cake.
Jones has a special love for pecans. She grew up in the Atlanta area but spent her summers with her relatives in Marianna, Fla. Jones remembers hours spent happily cracking pecans from the grandmother’s trees. “There were always pecans around in some form. Some would be cracked, some we would crack; we ate them as snacks and they were used in different dishes.”
Jones learned to cook by hanging around the kitchen with her mother. “She had a neighborhood cafe and I did some baking there, making things like sweet potato pie. One thing evolved into the next, and by 1997, I had opened my bakery,” she said.
For the holidays, we selected one of Jones’ bar cookie recipes, her Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars. They’re easily made from ingredients most of us have at home, and feature a perennial favorite combination: chocolate and pecans.
At local farmers markets
10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Chef Peter Dale of the National in Athens. Peachtree Road Farmers Market, Atlanta. www.peachtreeroadfarmersmarket.com
Vegetables and fruit: African squash, arugula, Asian greens, beans, beets, broccoli, broccoli raab, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, collards, dandelion, endive, escarole, fennel, field peas, garlic, hareuki and other turnips, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mache, mizuna, mustard greens, pea shoots, pecans, peppers, persimmons, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, radicchio, rutabagas, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
From local reports
Sweet Auburn Bread Co.’s Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars
Hands on: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Makes: 30 squares
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup bourbon
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Powdered sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. To make removing the bars easier, line the baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil, lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Slice 2 sticks butter into small pieces and using a fork or pastry blender, cut butter into flour and sugar until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture into bottom of prepared baking dish and bake 15 minutes or until the crust just begins to turn brown. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.
While crust is baking, melt remaining 1/2 stick butter. In a large bowl, combine melted butter, remaining 1 cup sugar, corn syrup, cocoa powder and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in bourbon and pecans.
When crust has browned, carefully pour chocolate mixture over crust and bake 40 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into 30 squares.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
Adapted from a recipe in “Sweet Auburn Desserts: Atlanta’s Little Bakery That Could” by Sonya Jones (Pelican Publishing Co., $24.95).
Per bar: 221 calories (percent of calories from fat, 49), 2 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 12 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 42 milligrams cholesterol, 26 milligrams sodium.