Begin by preheating oven to 350 degrees and greasing a 9x9 inch pan with butter. (You can use a 9x13 inch pan for thinner bars.)
MAKING THE CRUST
In a large bowl mix the 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 your crumbs are just about all the same size.
Pat crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan and bake for 15 minutes or until very lightly browned along the edges. Remove from oven. If using the 9x9 pan and the crust has puffed up a little, use a 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 and dust with confectionery sugar.
Lightly dust the pecan squares with powdered sugar and enjoy as is or serve with vanilla ice-cream and fresh whipped cream for a decadent dessert.
I noticed these Maple Pecan Pie Bars tasted even better a day or two after they were baked. They're great for making ahead and taking to a party.