These pecan pie bars have a delicate shortbread crust and a sweet, crunchy topping enhanced with maple syrup and dark brown sugar. They’re a perfectly portioned dessert that will be a hit at your next holiday party!
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).
Light brown sugar may be substituted for dark, though I prefer dark for its subtle richness. Corn syrup helps to solidify the bars and hold their shape, making them easy to slice into smaller, bite-sized pieces if desired. If you’d prefer to avoid corn syrup, brown rice syrup is a good substitute.