I’ve been a huge fan of Alice Medrich for many years. The source of my devotion is (sadly) a book that is no longer in print, Alice Medrich’s Cookies and Brownies. It looks like the book was even republished at some point, but that edition is out of print as well. If you can find a copy, buy it. Mine is treasured, although quite dog-eared. The other day I needed to satisfy a sweet tooth, but I had just one egg in the fridge. This turtle bar recipe came to the rescue — no eggs required. And despite how amazing they look, they’re super easy to make.
The shortbread layer is just butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour, mixed up in a saucepan after you melt the butter. Then you press it out into the pan. Add toasted pecans and bake part-way. You also make the topping (butter and brown sugar) in a saucepan. Pour that over the pecans and bake again. So simple. The final step is the fun one — you chop up a bunch of chocolate (or start with chocolate chips) and spread them over the top. Then just sit back and wait while they melt in. You don’t even need to put the pan back into the oven. Come back later and they’re perfect. I couldn’t wait to cut into them (and take the top photo), but can you blame me? The only hard part was not eating them all myself.
P.S. Alice wrote me this note on Facebook about the recipes in this great book: “Yes, my little cookie book is out of print but the good news: the recipes in it will be reincarnated along with dozens of new and very cool recipes, in my upcoming book, ALICE MEDRICH: CREATING COOKIES (working title) in the Fall 2010. So please look for it.”