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Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars: A Decadent Dessert Delight

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Pecan Pie Bars are a delightful twist on the classic pecan pie, offering all the rich flavors in a portable, easy-to-make bar form. This recipe combines a buttery shortbread crust with a luscious pecan filling, perfect for any occasion from holiday gatherings to casual desserts.

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Ingredients

Shortbread Crust:

  • 2 cups premium all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 12 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, finely diced

Luscious Pecan Filling:

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup aromatic honey
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans (about 14 oz)

Instructions

Making the Shortbread Crust:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the Crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt.
  3. Incorporate Butter: Cut in the chilled butter using a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and starts to stick together when pressed.
  4. Form the Crust: Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan to form the crust, ensuring it reaches the edges.
  5. Bake: Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while preparing the filling.

Making the Pecan Filling:

  1. Prepare Ingredients: In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, butter, heavy cream, and salt.
  2. Cook over Medium Heat: Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
  3. Add Vanilla and Pecans: Stir in the vanilla extract and chopped pecans until well combined and evenly coated.

Assembling and Baking:

  1. Pour Filling Over Crust: Pour the pecan filling evenly over the baked crust, spreading it out with a spatula if needed to cover the entire surface.
  2. Bake Again: Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and set.
  3. Cool and Serve: Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, cut into bars or squares.

Cook’s Notes

  • Chopping Pecans: For best results, chop the pecans into coarse pieces rather than fine crumbs to ensure a satisfying texture in each bite.
  • Baking Time: Oven temperatures can vary, so keep an eye on the bars during the last few minutes of baking to prevent over-browning.
  • Storage: Store pecan pie bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or refrigerate for longer shelf life.

Variations

Chocolate Pecan Bars:

  • Add Chocolate: Stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the pecan filling before pouring it over the crust for a decadent twist on classic pecan pie bars.

Maple Pecan Bars:

  • Use Maple Syrup: Replace the honey with maple syrup in the filling for a richer, maple-flavored pecan pie bar.

Salted Caramel Pecan Bars:

  • Add Caramel: Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the cooled bars before serving for an indulgent caramel-pecan flavor combination.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

Keto Pecan Bars:

  • Almond Flour Crust: Substitute almond flour for the all-purpose flour and a low-carb sweetener for the powdered sugar in the crust.
  • Sugar-Free Filling: Use a sugar-free sweetener like erythritol or stevia in place of honey and brown sugar. Replace heavy cream with coconut cream for a dairy-free option.

Pecan Pie Bars are a delightful treat that captures the essence of traditional pecan pie in a convenient bar form. Whether served at holiday gatherings, potlucks, or as a sweet indulgence at home, these bars are sure to impress with their buttery crust and rich, pecan-filled topping. Experiment with different variations to suit your taste preferences, and enjoy the irresistible blend of flavors in every bite.

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