The Best Ever Pecan Pie Bars with Shortbread Crust

Gooey Pecan Pie Bars

Gooey Pecan Pie Bars

Ingredients

Shortbread:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick cold butter cut in pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Pecan Pie Topping:

  • 2 cups pecan halves or pieces
  • 2 tbsp. whipping cream
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup

Instructions

Shortbread:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper.
  • Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.
  • Add in the butter, one piece at a time, pulsing until a dough forms. (SEE NOTES)
  • Add the vanilla extract and mix. Press the dough into the lined pan.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes.

Pecan Pie Topping:

  • Combine all the pecan pie topping ingredients in a saucepan and heat until bubbling.
  • Pour mixture on top of HOT shortbread.
  • Return to the oven and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. I put them in the refrigerator to cool to speed it up.
  • Once FULLY cooled, remove from the baking dish, take the parchment paper off, and slice into bars. Use a sharp, warm knife to make slicing easier.
  • The bars can be stored in an airtight container. I recommend keeping them in the fridge so they don’t melt. They can also be frozen (SEE NOTES).

Expert Tips:

  1. Always make sure the butter stays cold. If the butter gets too warm, your shortbread will not set right.
  2. You can substitute honey for the maple syrup if you don’t have any. I’ve used them both and always have great results.
  3. I don’t recommend using whole pecans. For best results, use pecan pieces.
  4. When you make the dough, it’s important to add the butter in small pieces one at a time, pulsing the food processor in between. I recommend only using the pulse setting. Once all butter is added, the texture should be crumbly. DO NOT OVER PROCESS.
  5. Pouring the pecan pie mixture onto hot shortbread allows the mixture to seep into the shortbread, which is what we want.
  6. It is extremely important to let these cool and set properly. Otherwise you will have a goopy mess. I highly recommend storing them in the fridge.
  7. To make it easier to slice the bars, use a very sharp knife and run it under hot water to heat the blade. The warm blade should slide through the bars easier.
  8. To freeze: Place the sliced pecan bars on a baking sheet and place them directly in the freezer for 6-8 hours, or until frozen through. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag to store in the freezer for up to 4 months. To defrost, place the bars on a plate or baking sheet and defrost in the fridge overnight.

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