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It’s getting a little cooler already – it’s time to start up the ovens. Winter visitors and part-time residents are arriving in SaddleBrooke and you may want to make a little surprise as a welcome back. Perhaps you’re going to a unit party or a potluck. Holiday season is upon us; but, you say, you don’t want to bake a pie; it stays around too long. Well, here is a solution and you probably won’t have any leftovers and, if you do, they freeze well. Or, make just half the recipe at one time. You’ll make this one over and over again.

Pecan Toffee Pastries

(The flavor of pecan pie in one sweet bite)

Makes: 3-1/2 dozen pastries

Prep: 20 minutes

Bake: at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 package (15 oz.) Pillsbury refrigerated piecrusts (2 crusts) only Pillsbury; generic or store brands do not work as well

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 pkg. (8 oz.) toffee bits (such as Heath Bits ‘O Brickle)

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Method:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Unroll piecrusts onto a lightly floured surface. Carefully roll into two 15-inch circles. Working with one crust at a time, cut out 20 to 22 circles using a 2-3/4 inch round cookie cutter (or a glass dipped in flour), re-rolling dough as needed. Place in 1-3/4 inch mini-muffin pans, pressing on bottom and up sides of each mini-muffin cup (coat with nonstick cooking spray if pan is not nonstick).

Combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour and eggs in a large bowl, mixing well. Add vanilla. Stir in pecans and toffee bits.

Spoon pecan filling evenly into pie shells (a scant tablespoon filling per mini-muffin cup). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until filling is set and crust is lightly browned. (This can be done in batches, if you only have one pan.)

Cool slightly in pans on wire racks; transfer directly to racks to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Note: Heath Bits ‘O Brickle is available almost all the time at Basha’s; during holiday time, other stores carry it.