Tuesday, November 16, 2010

JFK's Pecan Bars

I love anything with pecans in it, and the holidays are a time when pecan desserts seem to abound! Here's a twist on the usual pecan bar recipe-President Kennedy's Pecan Bars from an old community cookbook from the early 60's. What makes it special is that Hinton, WV (the cook's hometown) is one of the many small towns in the state where JFK, Jackie and his brothers campaigned in the 50's-60's. The Kennedy's loved shaking hands in WV; highly pro-union and overflowing with Democrat voters (plus all-around-good-people all over the state!). The time and place of this little recipe gives it an aura of historical significance for me. Don't know if Cynthia got this recipe from Jackie, or it's a cookie that she made for the President while he was visiting. At any rate, it's a good recipe for pecan bars!

President Kennedy's Pecan Bars
Cynthia Fredeking, Hinton, WV

1/2 C butter
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp salt
1 C flour
2 TBSP milk
1 TBSP vanilla
2 eggs
1 C brown sugar
1 tsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 (4 oz.) shredded coconut
1 C chopped pecans

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter, 1/2 C brown sugar and salt. Beat until fluffy. Blend in 1 C flour and milk; pat in bottom of greased 9x9x2" pan. Bake 20 minutes. Cool slightly.
Beat eggs well Add 1 C brown sugar and vanilla. Blend in 2 TBSP flour. Fold in coconut and pecans. Pour over baked layer. Bake 35 minutes; cool slightly and cut into bars.
Note: I usually double this recipe. Makes 1 jelly roll pan. I also mix my topping while the bottom is baking. Recipe calls for dark brown sugar, but I prefer light.

I will be at these swaps today:


  1. Ooo, loaded with lots of vanilla and coconut. Yum!


  2. Coconut and pecans sound like a winning combo. Thanks for posting!

  3. Sounds great, wish you had posted a picture. Joan

  4. Sorry, there was no picture available. This was a hand-typed and copied community cookbook from 1960's. I haven't made this recipe, yet. I have never seen a pecan bar that included coconut, so I'm excited to try it! Thanks for your comment.

  5. Nice bit of historical trivia, Marcia. These kinds of cookbooks often have great recipes because the homemaker's reputation was on the line.