Have a sweet treat before Thanksgiving dinner with these tasty pecan pie bars.
The Thanksgiving spread requires some planning. While you’re waiting for turkey to take center stage, give your guests something to gobble on! These pecan pie bars deserve a spot on your snack table to hold everyone over until the main event.
Tami Steggell shares how to put on a proper grazing table, and her recipe and technique for pecan pie bars.
Pecan Pie Bars
PREP: 30 minutes
BAKE: 30 minutes
COOL: 5 hours
TOTAL: 6 hours
SERVINGS: 36 bars
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature (3 sticks)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 1/4 cups light brown sugar or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest about ½ medium lemon
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream 40%
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 pounds 20 ounces pecan halves, coarsely chopped
- Flaky sea salt such as Maldon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out. Set aside.
- The crust: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl once in between. Once blended, add in the eggs and vanilla, blend until incorporated.
- Next, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. With the mixer on low speed, spoon the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, until incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to the parchment lined pan. Press doug evenly into the pan, building it up on the sides all the way around by about 1-inch. The dough is sticky, so if it clings to your hands, simply dip your fingers into some flour. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, this is a par bake step, meaning it is partially baked. The dough will slip down from the sides, but by having built up the edged you will not end up with receded edges. If it puffs in the center, use a fork to lightly prick in the dough to allow air to escape. Set aside to cool.
- The filling: in a large, heavy-bottomed 8 Qt saucepan, combine the butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, and lemon zest.
- Cook on low heat, stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon, until the butter is melted, about 5 minutes. Once melted, increase the heat to medium high and boil for 3 minutes. Be sure to set a timer. Promptly remove from the heat after 3 minutes.
- Stir in the vanilla, heavy cream, and chopped pecans. This is extremely hot, cautiously pour the hot mixture into the crust. Do not touch or taste! Using a spatula or wooden spoon, spread pecan mixture evenly to the edges of the pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Filling will be slightly liquid at final bake, but will set up as it cools. Remove from oven, sprinkle with a few generous pinches of flaky salt. Place on a cooling rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Once cooled, cover the bars with plastic and place in the refrigerator to chill for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
- With a knife, loosen the bars from the sides of the pan, then lift them onto a cutting board. Slice into bite size bars. Make 8 cuts along the long 13” side, and 4 cuts along the short 9” side to yield 32 pieces.
- Allow to come to room temperature and enjoy!