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These Pecan Pie Bars with shortbread crust are one of the best things you will ever eat. Gooey, caramely, buttery goodness all on top of a simple homemade shortbread crust, these are sure to be a hit at your holiday party, but you’re not going to want to share them!
This recipe was originally published in November 2017. It has been updated for photos and content.
These pecan bars are SO DAMN INCREDIBLE. Seriously guys, I’m not lying. Made with a shortbread crust and a gooey caramel pecan topping, this is my best ever dessert. They are amazing. Truly, truly amazing.
I made these maple pecan bars on a whim to bring to the boyfriend’s parents house for dinner one weekend. The plan was to bring the whole batch over and leave what was left over. I hate having leftover treats in my house during the week because I
like LOVE to eat them.
But then I tasted them. And there was no way in hell that I wasn’t keeping these for myself. The boyfriend agreed. Yes, we are selfish. I’m ok with that. So we brought the appropriate amount so that everyone could have some dessert. Then we proceeded to binge eat them for the rest of the weekend in secrecy.
The Ingredients for this Pecan Pie Bar Recipe
Normal grocery store stuff here guys. Either take a trip or avoid the crowds and running up and down the aisles and buy these pecan pie ingredients through these Amazon links (affiliate links – I earn a small commission of you buy through these links to help pay for my failed recipe attempts like adding an extra stick of butter…):
You can substitute honey for the maple syrup if you don’t have any. I’ve used them both and always have great results.
For the pecans, you can use halves or pieces. I don’t recommend using whole pecans.
How to Make Pecan Pie Bars
Shortbread has become my new go-to crust for bar recipes. It’s super easy to make and is absolutely DELICIOUS. In this recipe, we bake it and then add the pecan pie filling right on top of the hot shortbread so it soaks in just a little bit. It’s so awesome.
If you like shortbread, check out these homemade Twix candy bars – they are sweet, salty and delicious!
How to make shortbread
They key is to make sure the butter stays cold. If the butter gets too warm, your shortbread will not set right. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 9″ pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour salt and sugar in a food processor. Add in the cut butter, one piece at a time, pulsing in between, until a dough forms.
*NOTE: you can also make the dough by hand by cutting in the butter with a fork until a dough forms. This is how I did it due to a recent fight between me and my food processor that resulted in it being discarded.
Once it just starts to form, add the vanilla extract. The dough should be crumbly.
Press it into the lined pan and bake for 15-17 minutes, until it starts to lightly brown on top.
How to make pecan pie filling
While the shortbread bakes, we make the pecan pie filling (topping). This part is SUPER easy. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Pour the pecan pie filling right on top of the browned shortbread crust while it is still hot. You want the filling to soak into the crust a bit. It makes these pecan pie bars SO GOOD. I’m drooling again just thinking about them.
Place the pan back in the oven and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the pecan bars cool fully. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so. You can also place the pan in the fridge straight from the oven if you’re in a rush.
How to cut pecan pie bars
Once chilled, remove the parchment paper from the pan and slice the pecan bars in squares. Use a large, sharp knife to cut them in 2″ squares.
Try not to eat them all. You won’t succeed, but you can try.
How to store pecan pie bars
Pecan bars should be stored in the fridge to keep them from melting. Place on a plate, wrap in plastic wrap ad store in the fridge for up to 4 days. They won’t last this long. For freezer instructions, see bottom of post.
How to freeze pecan pie bars
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.
With the holidays upon us, I know everyone out there is scouring the internet for new recipes. If you’re looking for something sweet, check out these awesome recipes:
Sweet Korean Pancakes
How to Make Almond Meringues
Easy Caramelized Banana Bread
Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Salted Toffee Peanut Butter Fudge
White Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Sugar Cookies
Spiced Gingerbread Cookies
No Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Bars
No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Balls
Eggnog Cheesecake Bars with Gingersnap Crust
Pumpkin Pie Pecan Bars
Did you make these pecan pie bars with shortbread crust? Rate the recipe and leave me a comment below to let me know how much you love them (you WILL love them!!)
Gooey Pecan Pie Bars
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x9 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).
- Always make sure the butter stays cold. If the butter gets too warm, your shortbread will not set right.
- You can substitute honey for the maple syrup if you don't have any. I've used them both and always have great results.
- I don't recommend using whole pecans. For best results, use pecan pieces.
- 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.
- Pouring the pecan pie mixture onto hot shortbread allows the mixture to seep into the shortbread, which is what we want.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Did you make these pecan pie bars with maple syrup? Follow me on Instagram, post a photo and tag @wenthere8this or #wenthere8this. I love to see what you’re making!