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Thanksgiving 2013: Getting ready for turkey and all the trimmings

Addie Broyles

The big day is almost here!

We are running our big Thanksgiving food section inside Sunday’s newspaper, including stories about why you should (or shouldn’t) brine your turkey, how to keep your stuffing from getting mushy, other ways to cook green beans, mashed potatoes and butternut squash and five wines that will please your guests (and your wallet).

Not a digital subscriber? Check out some of these stories from recent Thanksgivings, where we’ve covered how to make a Cajun Thanksgiving, how to get over your fear of making pies, which dishes freeze well so you don’t waste any of that corn casserole, how to make a turkey tetrazzini with Tacodeli’s doña sauce, and, most importantly, how to deal with the inevitable family drama that tends to pop up this time of year.

If you’re one of the 33 million Americans who eat out on Thanksgiving, here is a list of area restaurants that will be more than happy to serve you on Thursday.

Before I go (I’m on vacation all week!), here is one of my favorite recipes from this Thanksgiving season so far: A pecan pie bar I made for a Friendsgiving last week. (No one seemed to mind that it wasn’t technically a pie, and here are a few other pie-inspired desserts to get you thinking outside the pie shell…)

While I’m gone, make sure you tweet/Instagram pictures of your big dinner — I might just have to do a #thanksgiving and #thanksgivukkah photo round-up when I’m back.

And if you have a major #cookingfail, feel free to share that, too. At left, you’ll see my favorite Thanksgiving fail, when my friend Erin and I almost burned down our apartment building in Spain trying to grill a turkey with a foil-covered laundry basket instead of a lid. Ah, memories….

Pecan Pie Bars

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan

1 ½ to 2 cups pecans, chopped

For the filling:

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

3/4 cup light corn syrup

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place large rimmed baking sheet on the middle oven rack. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan.

To make the crust: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and mix with fingers until moistened. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan. Scatter the pecans into the crust.

To make the filling: Wipe out the bowl and then whisk the brown sugar, butter, cream and salt to combine. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and then the corn syrup and vanilla. Pour into the crust over the pecans. Redistribute the pecans into an even layer if necessary.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue to bake until the crust is golden and the filling is set and beginning to puff, about 20 to 25 minutes more. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into bars. Makes 12 (3-inch) bars

— From “One Bowl Baking: Simple, From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts” by Yvonne Ruperti (Running Press, $22)