Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars feature a buttery shortbread crust and a gooey nut filling with a crunchy, crackly top for a portable, hand-held, pecan pie cookie treat!

Pecan Pie Bars collage with text

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If you enjoy pecan desserts, you'll also love The BEST Pecan Pie, Mini Pecan Pies, or Cinnamon Sugar Candied Pecans!

Pecan pie is probably not the first dessert that comes to mind in the summertime...even though National Pecan Pie Day is actually July 12. Regardless, it's my hubby's all-time favorite dessert, all year long. So for Father's Day coming up? I'm making Pecan Pie Bars. And let me tell you, they taste just as good coming up on the Fourth of July as they do around Thanksgiving!

To be perfectly honest, I've never been a huge fan of pecan pie. However, I find these Pecan Pie Bars to be quite irresistible.

Pecan Pie Bars Recipe on a platter

What Are Pecan Pie Bars?

They are sweet but not cloyingly so. They are buttery but not heavy. The crust resembles tender pecan shortbread. And the filling has the perfect ratio of gooey syrup to toasty nuts.

Now, when most people make pecan pie, they roughly chop the nuts. However, early on in my relationship with my pecan-pie-expert-future-husband, I learned that a proper pecan pie (or bar) has nuts chopped so finely that they practically form a veneer that cracks when you cut into it. That's the way my hubby's sweet Nanny used to make her pies, so I know it's right.

Stack of Pecan Pie Bars

How to Make Them

Making these Pecan Pie Bars is surprisingly easy. And it's definitely much quicker and easier than making traditional pecan pie, primarily because there's no crust to roll out. Rather, this recipe starts with a shortbread type crust.

  1. It's as simple as tossing some ingredients into the food processor: flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, pecans, and butter. Pulse it all together and dump the resulting crumbs into a prepared baking pan. Then press into an even layer with your fingers and pop in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  2. While the crust is baking, whisk together the filling ingredients in a bowl: melted butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, an egg, and -- of course -- more pecans.
  3. As soon as the hot crust comes out of the oven, pour in the filling. Pop it back in the oven for a bit longer until the top is golden brown and just starting to crack.

And then do your very best to exercise the patience necessary to wait a whole hour before you can slice your slab of pecan pie deliciousness.

Shortbread crust and nutty filling and crunchy top

Toasting the Pecans

Before we move on, however, please humor a quick note about the nuts used in this recipe. It is my humble opinion that it's of utmost importance to toast your pecans. Toasting only takes a few minutes, but it adds such delicious crunch and depth of flavor to the nuts in this dessert. So don't skip it!

And that's it, y'all...all of the deliciousness of pecan pie in a quick and easy recipe that yields easy-to-serve, easy-to-eat, portable, packable, handheld Pecan Pie Bars! You are going to want these at alllll of your summer parties and potlucks. But don't fret...they'll be equally fabulous when it's time for your Thanksgiving dessert tables and Christmas cookie platters.

In other words, if you're a fan of pecan pie, these bars are a must-try! And if you're not, well...I'm pretty sure they'll change your mind. 😉

Pecan Pie Bars with text overlay

More Yummy Bar Cookies

Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars feature a buttery shortbread crust and a gooey nut filling with a crunchy, crackly top for a portable, hand-held, pecan pie cookie treat!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 256kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped

Instructions

  • Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
  • Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Cut two pieces of parchment paper or foil to the width of the pan but long enough for overhang, approximately 9- by 16-inches. Place one sheet into the bottom of the pan, pressing it into the corners (the cooking spray should help it stick and stay in place). Lay the second sheet perpendicular to the first sheet, press down in the same manner, and then spray the sheets again with cooking spray.

For the crust:

  • In the bowl of a food processor, place the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and chopped pecans. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse cornmeal. Add cold butter cubes and pulse until mixture resembles sand. Evenly press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

For the filling:

  • Prepare the filling while the crust is baking. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, and egg until well incorporated. Stir in the pecans.
  • Pour the filling over the hot crust. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until the top is brown and starting to crack.
  • Place pan on a cooling rack for one hour before using foil or parchment paper "handles" to remove bars to a cutting board. Cut into small squares and serve.

Notes

  • To toast whole pecans, bake at 350°F for 7 to 10 minutes or until fragrant (check frequently towards the end!). If you ever toast chopped pecans, keep in mind that they will cook faster and require less time.
  • If you don't have a food processor to prepare the crust, you can cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives. Alternatively, you can grate a hunk of frozen butter on the largest holes of a box grater before working it into the flour mixture.
  • If you like a boozy cookie, you may add 1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum to the filling mixture.

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

 

Adapted from Baking Illustrated
Post originally published on June 21, 2013.

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5 from 1 vote

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11 Comments

  1. Excited to try this crust out! Can it be pre made them put in the refrigerator for the next day? I’m not sure if you had any notes on the recipe. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Sarah! I just store these in a sealed container on the counter. I might pop them in the fridge if they lasted more than a few days, but they never do. 😉

    1. Hi Cheryl! I have never tried Lyle's Golden Syrup myself, but I just googled it and read that it can be substituted one-to-one for corn syrup. So sounds like it should work! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I love these! They are a great alternative to sitting down to a slice of pecan pie. Nice pics! I am thinking about swapping out the all-purpose flour with pecan meal/flour to create a gluten-free version for our gluten intolerant daughter.

  3. Oh, I just love this recipe! Made some yesterday with chocolate chips. The crust is a tasty base and compliments the filling, and your suggestion of chopping the nuts finely - I toasted them and put them in the food processor - made the top crunchy and almost like a toffee. Today I made more, but with walnuts - doubled the recipe, and added 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips. Thank you! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Yum, Kate...I'm so glad they turned out tasty with chocolate chips (though I never doubted that they would)! 😉 And I will have to try them with walnuts sometime! Living in Texas, I always have pecans on hand, so sometimes I forget how much I enjoy other types of nuts when I remember to branch out. Thanks so much for letting me know how they turned out! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well! 🙂

  4. Hi! This recipe looks great! Have you ever put chocolate chips into the filling? Chips and a dash of bourbon would make this akin to Derby Pie, but with a yummier crust. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Kate! I have not tried these with chocolate chips, but I see no reason why you couldn't (and the same goes for the bourbon!). I think your suggestions would make for great additions...I've never had Derby Pie, but it sounds delicious! Enjoy, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks so much for pinning them, Rachel! Let me know what you think when you try them! They never last long at our house...primarily because my hubby is a pecan pie fiend. 😉