Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars

Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars are loaded with chocolate and topped with toasted pecans wrapped in rich buttery caramel!

Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars
Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Before I get to the delicious reason for today’s post, I’d like to take just a moment of your time to tell you how this year’s celebration will look a little different in our house. I know that we all want to be with our friends and family during the holidays, but that just isn’t a good idea for those of us living in the ol’ U.S. of A. at the moment. I have family members that I want to see (and hug) as well, so I know how you feel, but we’re all keeping this Thanksgiving small, in the hopes that I can spend many more Holidays with my extended family in the future, and I hope you will do the same. It’s not a lot to ask, and it’s nothing that hasn’t been asked of essential healthcare workers and military families most every Holiday. That being said, since  I am apparently incapable of cooking for less than a crowd, I will be offering curbside takeout to those loved ones outside of my immediate bubble! Anyway, if you are anything like me, Thanksgiving has kind of snuck up behind you and yelled “BOO!”  I mean, I understand that 2020 has bent any and all rules of time, but I just didn’t expect to suddenly find myself facing both a turkey and a Christmas tree quite yet. (BTW, my tree is up. Is yours?)

Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars

Well, my last-minute planning friends, I have a quick and easy Thanksgiving dessert recipe for you! Rarely straying far from my Southern roots, I’m bringing you yet another pecan treat. My Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars are absolutely out of this world! Chocolate shortbread, topped with a rich caramel pecan layer, and finished with chocolate ganache and pecans, they’re unbelievably easy to make, feed a crowd, and pack beautifully for takeout or shipping! Just because our Thanksgivings have to be smaller, doesn’t mean they have to be any less delicious!

What are Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars?

Being a Southern Girl born and raised, I have a natural affinity for anything pecan. I love having a Mini Pecan Pie all to myself, have shrunk them down to snackin’ size for Pecan Shortbread Bars, and now I’m adding these Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars to the mix. Based on one of my favorite candies, these bars start with my easy chocolate shortbread base (last seen in my Rocky Road Bars). Next I load on caramel and toasted pecans and bake until bubbly. Finally I cover the whole thing in chocolate ganache, even more toasted pecans, and a pinch of flaky sea salt. They’re sweet, salty, nutty, and delicious. Perfect for after school or late night snacks, these Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars are also easy to wrap and ship to Turtle-less friends and family members!

Tips on making Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars

I’ve recently started adding gram weight measurements to all my baking recipes, making it easy to divide this recipe in half and bake in a square pan. Just bake the shortbread base for 10-12 minutes, and the caramel and pecan layer for about 15 minutes, then finish as directed.

Makes 1 to 15 Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars, depending on how well you listened to Caring is Sharing on Barney and Friends.

Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars with side view of a slice

Pecan Turtle Shortbread Bars

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 18 Servings
Calories: 188kcal

Ingredients

Chocolate Shortbread Base

  • 2 cup (260g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/2 cup (50g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g or 12 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, diced

Turtle Filling

  • 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 3/4 cup (170g or 12 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (60g) heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped

Finishing Touches

  • 8 oz (225g) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1/4 cup (60g) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9x13" baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some paper to hang over the sides to use as a handle for lifting the bars out of the pan later. (Always thinkin' ahead!)
  • In a food processor (or with an electric mixer) mix together flour, cocoa powder, butter, sugar, and salt until fully combined and crumbly. Press evenly and firmly into the bottom of the pan and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring brown sugar, butter, salt, and cream to a boil, stirring continuously until sugar dissolves. Boil for two minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans. Pour the caramel and pecans over the baked shortbread. Bake at 350° until caramel bubbles and darkens in color, about 18-20 minutes.
  • While the bars are baking, place chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate in a heat safe bowl with the heavy cream. Set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and stir until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined and smooth. You made ganache! Spread the ganache evenly over the caramel and pecan layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of pecans. Finish with flaky sea salt if desired. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
  • Cut into slices using a warm dry knife, wiping between slices. I do this by dipping the knife in a tall glass filled with hot water and drying it on a towel then slicing. Slice, dip, dry, repeat, EAT!

Notes

(Nutrition information provided is only an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Nutrition

Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 2mg

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