These Pecan Bars with Shortbread Crust have all the flavor of a Pecan Pie in a convenient bar size. The pecan filling sits perfectly on a tender shortbread crust!
Pecan Pie you can hold in your hand
Pecan Pie is usually associated with Fall flavors, but being a Southern Girl, I can get down with these Pecan Bars with Shortbread Crust all year round. Easy to make, and ready in under an hour, they are perfect for potlucks, sharing with coworkers, friends, and family, or hoarding for yourself. Because if you don’t take care of yourself, who will? Cut them into whatever size you feel appropriate and then decide, who is Pecan Bar worthy? You certainly are! Everyone else? Geez… tough call.
Ingredients for these Pecan Bars
- All-purpose flour You can substitute with whole wheat flour if you prefer. I have not tested this recipe with flour alternatives, but if you do, let me know in the comments and I’ll let everyone else know too!
- Brown Sugar Brown sugar is essentially granulated sugar that has been enriched with molasses. Dark brown sugar just has more molasses than light brown sugar, giving it a deeper, richer flavor. In this recipe, you can use light or dark, it won’t affect the outcome. Use what you have.
- Corn Syrup As with the brown sugar, you can use light or dark corn syrup. I grew up with a light corn syrup/dark brown sugar pecan pie, but it doesn’t make a difference in the bake. Again, use what you have!
- Maple Syrup This brings a smoky, earthy flavor to the bars. With so little filling overall, bringing in another depth of flavor is a good thing. These bars taste best when using real maple syrup. I wouldn’t recommend replacing it with pancake syrup or artificial maple syrup. If you don’t want to pay the higher price of real maple syrup, I absolutely understand. Just use an equal amount of extra corn syrup.
- Unsalted Butter Not all unsalted butter is made with the same level of saltiness, so we use unsalted butter, and add our own salt.
- Egg Just one large egg here, because we’re making a pecan pie bar with just a bit of filling.
- Pecans I grew up eating fresh cracked pecans, and they certainly didn’t grow toasted, but in my baking I always toast them first. It just makes nuts nuttier.
How do I make these Pecan bars?
- Make the shortbread crust Couldn’t be easier! Place the crust ingredients in your food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand. When you pinch some together with your fingers, it should hold together. Then just bake and cool while making the filling.
- Make the filling You’ll heat the butter, sugar, cream, and salt, along with the maple and corn syrups, until it’s all combined, then whisk in an egg, to hold it all together when baking. Add your toasted nuts and you’re ready to bake.
- Bake it all together Just bake at 350° F for 20-25 minutes, or until the middle loses its jiggle, and then let cool. That’s it!
For another Pecan Bar twist, try my Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars, with pecans, chocolate, and caramel, all on a chocolate shortbread crust!
MAKING THIS RECIPE?
Tag @cooksleepread on Instagram using the hashtag #cooksleepread, so I can see how it turned out and be sure to leave a rating below! ❤️
Pecan Bars with Shortbread Crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 260 g
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100 g
- 1/2 tsp fine grain salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter 226 g
- 3/4 cup brown sugar light or dark
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup you can use dark corn syrup, if that’s what you have
- 1/4 cup maple syrup real maple syrup, not pancake syrup. Can sub with another ¼ cup corn syrup.
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 stick unsalted butter 113 g
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups pecans
- Preheat your oven to 350° and place your oven rack in the middle slot in your oven. Line a 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over the sides. This will allow you to remove your finished pecan bars from the pan easily.
- Place pecans on a large sheet pan and toast them in the 350° oven for about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool, then chop.
- Place all the crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse them until they are the consistency of damp sand. The mixture should hold together when you squeeze it between your fingers.
- Dump the crust dough bowl into the bottom of your 13X9 pan. Using your hands, press the crumbs evenly in the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. We’ll make the filling while the crust bakes.
- Place brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, heavy cream, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved, then turn off the heat and remove your pan from the burner. Whisk your egg in a small bowl. Add a small amount of the sugar/butter mix to the egg while whisking. Add a little more and continue whisking. This is called tempering the egg, or bringing its temperature close to the temperature of the hot sugar/butter mix. This prevents the egg from scrambling when you add it to the warm sugar and butter. Slowly add the tempered egg into the rest of the sugar/butter mix while whisking. Stir in the toasted and chopped pecans
- Pour the pecan filling over your baked crust and spread evenly. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until it’s no longer jiggly in the middle.
- Allow to cool for about 30 minutes to an hour before slicing.