Chocolate Praline Squares

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter
1-1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans
3/4 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/2 cup dark-colored corn syrup
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate pieces

1 Recipe Orange Cream (optional)
Finely shredded orange peel (optional)


1. For crust, stir together flour and powdered sugar. Cut in the 3/4 cup butter until pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups pecans. Press into a lightly greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 325 degree F oven 25 minutes or until light brown.

2. For filling, in a medium saucepan combine light and dark corn syrups, brown sugar, and the 1/4 cup butter. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Beat eggs with an electric mixer on low speed until mixed. Continue beating, slowly adding hot mixture. Stir in 2 cups pecans, peel, and vanilla.

3. Pour filling onto crust. Sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Cool on a wire rack; chill to store. To serve, cut into squares. If desired, serve with Orange Cream and additional finely shredded orange peel. Makes 24 squares.

Orange Cream: Combine 1 cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons dairy sour cream; beat until mixture starts to thicken. Add 1 tablespoon orange liqueur or 1/2 teaspoon orange extract, 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; beat on low speed just until soft peaks form (tips curl).

  For bottom layer, stir together oats, the 1/2 cup flour, the brown sugar, and baking soda. Stir in the 1/2 cup melted butter. Pat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 11x7x1-1/2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 minutes.

  1.  Meanwhile, for middle layer, stir together egg, granulated sugar, the 2/3 cup flour, the milk, the 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 ounce melted chocolate, the 1 teaspoon vanilla, and the baking powder until smooth. Fold in chopped walnuts. Spread batter over baked layer in pan. Bake about 25 minutes more or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Set on a wire rack while preparing top layer.

  2.  For top layer, in a medium saucepan heat and stir 1 ounce chocolate and the 2 tablespoons butter until melted. Stir in the powdered sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough hot water (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make a mixture that is almost pourable. Spread over brownies. If desired, garnish with walnut halves. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 32 brownies.