Perfectly nutty and slightly gooey pecan pie bars are a fast and fun twist on the classic Thanksgiving dessert. With 15 servings, this recipe feeds a crowd and comes together in no time--making it perfect for the holidays! Recipe includes a how-to video.
Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a 9x13 metal baking pan with parchment paper or foil, using enough so that the excess hangs over the sides (you’re effectively making a sling that you’ll use to remove the bars after baking and cooling).
Combine flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in the basin of a food processor and briefly pulse until combined.
2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup light brown sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch, ¾ teaspoon table salt
Scatter butter over the top of the mixture and pulse again until just combined and small butter pieces are still remaining.
1 cup unsalted butter
Add heavy cream and pulse again until dough is still sandy/just beginning to cling together but will stick together if pressed between your thumb and forefinger (this is about 25-30 one-second pulses for me).
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
Pour crumbly mixture into prepared baking pan and use your hands or the back of a spoon to evenly flatten into the pan.
Transfer to 350F (175C) oven and bake until the crust is just beginning to turn light golden brown, about 25 minutes. While crust is baking, prepare your pecan pie bar topping.
Pecan Pie Bar Topping
Melt butter and set aside so it has some time to cool.
¼ cup unsalted butter
In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and flour and whisk until well-combined and lump free.
1 cup light brown sugar, 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Add eggs, corn syrup, vanilla extract and salt and stir until completely combined and then drizzle in melted butter and stir to combine.
3 large eggs, 1 cup light corn syrup, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, ¾ teaspoons table salt
Stir in chopped pecans.
2 ½ cups chopped pecans
Once crust has finished baking, pour pecan pie filling over warm crust (use a spatula to evenly distribute the filling/nuts if needed). Return to oven and bake on 350F (175C) for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set and the center does not jiggle or very barely jiggles when the pan is jostled (note that over-baking can result in a mealy textured filling while under-baking can leave you with runny filling).
Allow to cool for 4-6 hours or overnight before removing from the pan and cutting and serving.
While this recipe could be made in a glass or ceramic baking dish, please note that the baking time will need to likely be increased.
I prefer to use light corn syrup. Dark corn syrup will work but I find it makes the bars richer in a way that I found to be overpowering. I do not know of a substitute that will work as well as corn syrup; maple syrup and honey tend to make the filling too loose/runny.
I tried this recipe toasting the pecans first and without toasting the pecans and did not find a significant difference and the extra step to be unnecessary. However, you can feel free to toast the pecans first!
After cooling/cutting, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to one week.