These pecan pie bars have a delicate shortbread crust and a sweet, crunchy topping enhanced with maple syrup and dark brown sugar. They’re an easy, perfectly portioned dessert that will be a hit at your next holiday gathering! Slice into brownie-sized portions or even smaller for bite-sized pieces.
My eyes are bigger than my stomach, and this makes the holiday season a challenge every year. No matter how small of a portion I take from each Thanksgiving selection, somehow I always find myself with this massively overflowing plate that would normally equal three meals. Then it happens all over again when the dessert spread appears.
This is why I’m a huge fan of smaller desserts like cookies and bars. Pecan pie is one of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts, and being able to take a small bar means I’m not the person cutting a pathetic sliver of pie that refuses to stand up on its own. Those are slivers of sadness. These bars are pure joy.
How to Make Pecan Pie Bars
I used to assume that layered bars would be more difficult to make than something like brownies, but these come together surprisingly quickly and easily. Here’s what you do:
- To prepare the crust, combine the ingredients using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, then press the dough into an 8×8-inch pan.
- While the crust layer is baking (around 20 minutes), you prepare the topping by heating up the remaining ingredients in a saucepan.
- When the bottom layer is ready, pour the topping over the crust and put it back in the oven. Another 20 minutes and you’re done!
How to Store Pecan Pie Bars
Once the bars are at room temperature, you can cover them with foil or plastic wrap (or use a storage container with a lid), and keep them in the refrigerator. They’re tasty right out of the fridge, but I prefer serving them at room temperature.
How to Measure Flour
For baked goods (as well as desserts like custard and ice cream), I always recommend using a kitchen scale to measure flour by weight instead of volume. Weight (ounces, grams, etc) will always give an accurate measurement of dry goods; volume (cups) can create varied results.
A cup of flour can weigh anywhere from 3 1/2 to 5 ounces. That could make a big difference in your recipe! If you still want to use cups, there’s a proper technique to make sure you get the best results possible.
My post How to Measure Flour explains all of this in more detail.
How long will pecan pie bars last?
As is usually the case, these pecan pie bars will taste best within the first few days, but they’ll keep in the refrigerator for five days, possibly up to one week.
Can pecan pie bars be frozen?
These bars freeze beautifully. I recommend placing them in a plastic freezer bag and pressing out as much air as possible before sealing (this prevents ice crystals from forming). They’ll keep for 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
More Dessert Bar Recipes
Pecan Pie Bars
For the crust
- 7 ounces all-purpose flour (1 1/3 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 ounces dark brown sugar (1/3 cup packed)
For the topping
- 4 1/2 ounces dark brown sugar (1/2 cup packed)
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup (see notes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Prepare the crust
- Place an oven rack on the center shelf and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8x8-inch pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Grease with baking spray or butter.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a large bowl and an electric hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Turn the mixer off and add in the flour, then mix on medium-low speed until crumbly. Press the crust firmly and evenly into the prepared pan, then bake for 18-22 minutes, until the crust is a pale golden brown.
Prepare the topping
- Add the sugar, butter, corn syrup, maple syrup, cream and vanilla to a medium-sized saucepan. Using a heat-proof spatula, stir over medium heat until the ingredients are smooth, about one minute, then stir in the pecans. Pour the filling over the crust, spreading evenly.
- Bake for an additional 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
- While the bars are still warm, run a small knife or offset spatula around the edge between the topping and lining (this will help ensure the topping doesn’t glue itself to the foil as it cools). Allow the bars to come to room temperature before slicing.
- Before slicing, remove the bars from the pan by lifting the excess foil. Transfer the bars to a cutting board, then detach and discard the foil. Slice and serve.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature (I prefer them at room temperature).
More Holiday DessertsLooking for more holiday desserts? You may also like my Caramel Apple Pound Cake, Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Frosted Eggnog Cookies!
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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