Kyra’s Bake Shop Smoky Turtle Bars

MAKES 1 (8-INCH SQUARE) PAN OR 16 (2 BY 2-INCH) BARS At “Cupcake Awards”-winner Kyra Bussanich’s bakery and cafe, Kyra’s Bake Shop, these sweet ’n’ salty, egg-free addictions are made with rendered bacon drippings rather than butter. To make it extra smoky and dairy-free, you can do the same. Regardless, they’ll keep covered at room temperature for three days, a week in the fridge, or a month in an airtight container in the freezer.

1⁄2 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

1⁄2 cup millet flour

1⁄2 cup sweet white rice flour

1⁄2 cup tapioca starch

11⁄2 teaspoons smoked sea salt

1⁄4 cup rendered bacon drippings or butter, at room temperature

1⁄3 cup honey

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon bourbon or gluten-free pure

vanilla extract

2 cups pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with gluten-free cooking spray followed by parchment paper. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on low speed, mix together the butter, 1⁄2 cup of the brown sugar, the flours, tapioca starch, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the smoked sea salt.

Add 1 tablespoon water and mix until dough starts to come together and a pinch of dough holds its shape. Add 1 more tablespoon of water if the dough seems too dry.

Press the dough into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared baking pan. Bake until golden around the edges and slightly firm to the touch, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt together the bacon drippings, remain-
ing 1⁄2 cup brown sugar, the honey, granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons water, just until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the bourbon, pecan pieces, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the remaining smoked salt.

Pour the mixture over the shortbread base and bake until the edges bubble, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon smoked sea salt over the top. Cool completely, cut into squares, and eat!

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