Sometimes I get the craving for a pecan pie, but I’m not always up for making a pie crust. Or going to the store to buy one. This simple recipe for Pecan Pie Bars are part bar, part cookie, part pie and can be baked up oh so easily. These guys are rich and nutty and decadent.
And what I love best about this recipe is the use of maple syrup and honey in place of corn syrup. Corn syrup is a usual suspect in most traditional pecan pie recipes, but makes no appearances here. You’ll still achieve that sticky gooey pecan pie yummyness with maple syrup and honey, but with a few more natural ingredients. Also, in this recipe the warm and nutty personality of the pecan truly shines. None of that “too much filling and not enough pecans” syndrome that some pecan pies can suffer from.
So if you like pecan pies that are more about the pecans than the filling and you shine to the idea of using natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey, than give these bars a try. I think you’ll love them as much as I do. And while baking, these confections you can be sure your house will smell like a little slice of pecan heaven.
Note: I noticed these Maple Pecan Pie Bars tasted even better a day or two after they were made. When the flavors had time to mingle, it was pure pecan perfection.
Serves: 12-16 (depends on the size of your bars)
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups flour
1/2 cup confectionary sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup half & half
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon Bourbon (optional, why not?)
2 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
Begin by preheating oven to 350 degreen and greasing a 9 x9 inch pan with butter.
Making the crust: In a large bowl mix flour, confectionery sugar and salt. Then cut in the cold butter until it is blended into the flour mixture making uniform crumbs. Cutting in the butter can easily be done using a food processor. Just place the cold butter and flour in the food processor and pulse a few times until the flour and butter are completely combined and yours crumbs are just about all the same size. Watch the instructional video below for two other methods of “cutting butter.”
Pat the crumbs evenly into the bottom of a 9×9 inch pan (for thinner bars use a 9×13 inch pan) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until very lightly browned along the edges. Remove from oven. If using the 9×9 pan and the crust has puffed up a little, use a flat spatula to gently press it back down to make an even surface for the pecan topping.
Making the Topping: While the crust is baking, mix all the topping ingredients except the pecans into a small saucepan and slowly bring to a low boil. Simmer the mixture for 2 minutes and then turn off the heat. Add in the pecans and mix to evenly coat. Be sure to watch the pot so it does not boil over.
Pour the topping mixture and spread evenly over the crust. Place back in the oven and bake another 25-30 minutes or until nice and bubbly.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, cut into squares or bar shapes (your choice) and dust with confectionery sugar.
To Serve: Lightly dust the pecan squares again with the confectionary sugar and enjoy as is or serve with vanilla ice-cream and fresh whipped cream for a decadent dessert.