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Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | Tasty Travels

Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

I'm not one to stand still for very long, literally or figuratively. As a travel blog, CosmosMariners.com has grown beyond my wildest imagination, and I can't wait to see where it will take me in the coming months and years. Even though I love the narrative driven posts and the must-do lists that you see on here most of the time, I've had an itch to try something new that still fits into my travel brand.

Enter the Tasty Travels series.

Here, I'll share recipes that are inspired by my travels, or, in the case of today's treat, are taken from the kitchen of somewhere I've visited. Basically, this new series will allow you to taste your way through my travels, which will add one more fun layer to the way that I share my adventures with you!

The Tasty Travels series was inspired by a crumpled piece of paper that I found at the bottom of my suitcase after returning from a press trip to St. Augustine last year (not a very auspicious start, is it?).

Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

On that piece of paper was the recipe for the mouthwatering pecan pie bars that Joe Finnegan and his staff serve the guests at the St. Francis Inn in downtown St. Augustine, Florida. At the time, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the recipe, but I knew that I had to bring it into the blog somehow.

Fast forward eight months, and here we are! While I am a pretty good cook and can follow a recipe with the best of 'em, I don't have a lot of confidence cooking since I've always seen it as a means to an end (aka to stop the hangry) instead of something fun. With this new series, I'm challenging myself to bring the creativity of my blog and my writing into the kitchen. It's a little scary to try something new, but I'm also super excited about it.

Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Okay, enough gabbing. Let's talk about the St. Francis Inn and these pecan pie bars.

I thought these would be the perfect start to the Tasty Travels series since they tie together two influential things for me: my Southern heritage (and all of the delicious food that comes with that) and my travels. Plus, they're pretty easy to throw together and they are crazy good.

The St. Francis Inn has been one of my favorite places to stay on my travels: it's Florida's oldest continually operating hotel, and every nook and cranny is filled with atmosphere. It's the embodiment of Southern hospitality while offering a history that is unparalleled. Where else can you stay that was once the home of a Spanish soldier? (Read more about my stay here.)

The St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida
You should've seen my husband and daughter when I was making these: they were hovering over every scoop and mixing, hoping that it was time to sample. Pecans are a huge crowd pleaser around our house, and my daughter ate as many pecans as she could cram into her tiny mouth when she thought I wasn't looking. (Mama has eyes everywhere!)

You'll start with an easy mixture of flour, sugar, and a bit of salt:

Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Then, add in lots of butter. This is not a recipe for when you're trying to lose weight.

Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Mix away!

Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

Pat that down into your pan or dish. You've made an basic shortbread cookie base at this point, though if you try it (and I probably did), it's not as sweet as the shortbreads you've eaten in the past. Bake that for about 20 minutes. You don't want to overcook it at this point since it has to go back into the oven later.

Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | CosmosMariners.com

While that cools, grab another bowl and dump in your corn syrup, sugar, more butter, and pecans. The recipe calls for all light corn syrup, but I ran out and had to use a 1/2 cup of dark corn syrup, and the end result still ended up being delicious. You'll also notice that the original recipe calls for chopped pecans, but you can use whatever size you'd prefer.

Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | CosmosMariners.com


Mix that ooey, gooey stuff together, and then pour over the shortbread crust. Pop the pan back into the oven for at least 25 minutes (mine took much longer since I apparently have a terrible oven). You'll want the mixture on top to be dense, not runny, when you move it around.

Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | CosmosMariners.com


Take them out, let them cool--if you can keep your family away from the bars that long--cut, and enjoy! They're similar in taste to pecan pie, but they're much denser and easy to nibble on. My husband has made me hide these from him. I think he's addicted.

Eating these pecan pie bars reminds me of the incredible hospitality of the St. Francis Inn staff, the creaking staircases in the main building, and the hilarious conversations I had over tea and a few of these treats each night before bed. If you can't make it to St. Augustine, you can take a mini vacation with these.
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RECIPE: PECAN PIE BARS
as inspired by the St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida
Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup (alternative: 1 cup light syrup + 1/2 cup dark)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 13x9 pan. 
2) Stir together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Cult in one cup of butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the pan and press firmly. 
3) Bake for 20 minutes. 
4) While crust is baking, prepare the filling. Mix together the eggs, corn syrup, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, pecans, and vanilla. Spread the filling over the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven. 
5) Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven or until set. Allow to cool completely before slicing into bars. 


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Have you been to St. Augustine before? Do you like pecan pie?

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through one of the above links, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. 

Pecan Pie Bars: St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, Florida | CosmosMariners.com
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