Minden Press-Herald

Thursday
Oct 02nd

Nancy’s Kitchen: Pecan Toffee Bars

Nancy McWhorterThis week's recipe is in memory of my dear husband, Leland (Mac) Connally McWhorter whom passed away September 1, 2012.

This month (May 23) he would have celebrated his 90th birthday. Since his health was in decline, not many in Minden learned to know my Mac. It is my desire through my words you will become acquainted with the man I loved.

Mac was 6' 5" tall and when people would comment on his height, he would often answer them, "I'm not tall, I'm only 5 foot, 17 inches."

That sense of humor and wit was the first thing that attracted me to him; that never changed. I would often set him up just to see what his reaction would be which usually made me laugh.

To his grandchildren and greats, he was known as "Big Mac" except for two who called him "Boo." He loved his family and promptly accepted and loved mine as his own.

Shortly after we married in April, 1984, I asked him to grow a beard and to make me happy he did.

He liked to tell people he had to grow a beard to look older so people would quit thinking I was his mother.

When we served on the board at a private Port Arthur retirement home, each July 4 the board would sale barbeque dinners and have other attractions to raise money for the home.

To draw attention to the event, he would dress in an Uncle Sam costume and stand in front of the building, near the street, luring potential customers.

When we married he only weighed 158 lbs. but over time gradually gained 75 lbs. He was still a tall, slender "drink of water." This should give you an idea of what he looked like.

Mac was a very private person and respectful of my privacy. For example, he would never open my mail, would not look in my purse or enter a closed door without knocking and asking for permission to enter.

One of his favorite activities was working in the yard. We had a large yard and he took pride in keeping it immaculate. He and a neighbor had an ongoing competition of who had the most attractive lawn.

He had a boat and enjoyed fishing. Each October our son-in-law came to Bridge City and they would spend several days "fishing."

They never brought home any fish and always told me they either gave them away or released them back into the water. I called them "boat riding."

Mac was highly intelligent and if I needed to know how to spell a word, rather than look it up, I could ask him and he usually knew the answer.

I was never very good in geography or with maps but he could always tell me where places were. If we were traveling, he soon learned to never ask me to help him follow the map.

Mac was a faithful Christian man and stayed busy in all church activities. He taught Sunday school, helped with vacation bible school, served on several

committees, had a beautiful base singing voice and sang in both the sanctuary and senior choirs. If the church doors were open, he was there.

When it came to preparing food for Mac, he never complained about anything I cooked but he did love sweets...especially if they contained pecans or Eagle Brand.

His favorite dessert was Praline Pecan Pie (column 5/8/2009). I always tried to keep some sort of dessert available for him and any company that might drop in for a visit.

Here is a KEEPER recipe Mac liked because it contained both Eagle Brand and Pecans.

Pecan Toffee Bars

Base:
1 (18.25 oz.) pkg. Pillsbury Moist Supreme
Yellow Cake Mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg

Filling:
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup Heath Almond Toffee Bits
1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 X 9 inch pan.

In large bowl, combine cake mix, butter and 1 egg; mix well with pastry blender or fork.

Press mixture in bottom of greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine Eagle Brand, vanilla and 1 egg; mix well. Stir in toffee bits and pecans.

Remove pan from oven. Pour filling evenly over warn base. Return to oven; bake an additional 22 to 30 minutes or until filling is set.

Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator. Yields 36 bars.

Mac was my best friend, my soul mate, and the love of my life. Although I am gradually adjusting, I will miss him until that day I will join him in the "sky."

 

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