Do you love pecan pie? You are going to love pecan pie bars. Pecan pie is nested on a buttery shortbread cookie. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Pecan pie is a favorite traditional Southern dessert that has found fans all across the United States. There is a good reason for that; it is darn delicious. First showing up in cookbooks in the late 19th century, this ooey-gooey pie has won many people over with its chewy caramel-laced pecans and a crunchy crust. If you are someone who can appreciate a first-rate pecan pie but doesn’t have the time to go through the hassle of whipping one up from scratch, you’ll definitely want to give these easy pecan pie bars a try. This recipe for pecan bars takes the classic pecan pie filling and spreads it on top of a quick shortbread cookie base, giving you the taste you want in a fraction of the time of baking a traditional pecan pie.
What is a Shortbread Cookie?
A shortbread cookie, a treat firmly rooted in Scotland’s highlands, has quite a fascinating history to go with its very unique name. The cookie, or biscuit, as it is called in the UK, developed from bakers’ practice, sweetening leftover bread dough, rolling it out, and then letting it dry in the still-warm ovens once the day’s bread baking was over. This produced hard, semi-sweet crusts called rusks. These rusks were dunked in milk or tea as a breakfast or snack and are still quite popular in some parts of the UK and its former colonies. This is where shortbread gets the ‘bread’ portion of its name.
Over time, bakers adjusted the recipe for rusks to produce a more elegant dessert by removing the yeast, increasing the amount of sugar, and adding butter to the dough. If you are a baker, you may have already guessed that the source of the “short” portion of the cookie’s name comes from the addition of this butter, causing the dough to become crumbly like other shortcrust pastries. The use of expensive ingredients meant that shortbread cookies became a treat that was only enjoyed by the average person on special occasions, forever associating shortbread with holidays and celebrations.
Secrets to a Great Shortbread
Shortbread uses only a few ingredients, that means the only thing that separates good and great shortbread is the quality of those ingredients and the baker’s skills. So, outside of using the highest quality and freshest ingredients you can, you should master these three tricks for making shortbread:
- Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Doing this improves the cookie’s texture by drying out the dough and ensuring the butter is cold when it goes into the oven.
- Dock the dough by poking holes in the dough with the tines of a fork. These holes keep the shortbread from trapping steam that can cause it to puff up while baking.
- For a more tender shortbread that works well in this recipe, substitute the granulated sugar with an equal amount of confectioner sugar.
Tips For Making and Storing Pecan Shortbread Bars
- Precut the dough into bars before baking to make separating them more manageable.
- Sprinkle on a few chocolate chips right after the bars come out of the oven.
- Let cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container on the counter.
Here’s a list of what you need to make pecan pie bars:
- All-purpose flour
- Unsalted butter,
- Brown sugar
- Dark corn syrup
- Pecan halves
How to Make Pecan Pie Bars
- Grease a 9-inch square pan.
- Put flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until blended.
- With the processor running, gradually add butter through the feed tube and process until blended.
- Turn out the crust dough into the prepared pan.
- Flatten and press evenly over the bottom of the pan and forming a half-inch edge up the sides of the pan.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Stir brown sugar and flour in a medium-sized bowl until blended.
- Add corn syrup, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until well blended.
- Add pecans and stir to coat them with filling mixture.
- Spread pecan filling in an even layer over the partially baked crust.
- Bake at 400 degrees for minutes.
Love pecans and pecan pie? Try these recipes!
- Texas Pecan Pie
- Pecan Delight Pie
- Chocolate Pecan Pie
- Keebler Sandies
- Starbucks Maple Pecan Latte
- Cranberry Pecan Cookies
- Banana Bread with Pecans
- Sugar and Spice Pecans
- Pecan Pralines
- Pecan Brittle
Favorite Bars Recipes
Pecan Pie Bars
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter cold and cut into pieces
- 1 egg yolk
Pecan Pie Filling
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups pecan halves
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square pan.
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until blended. With the processor running, gradually add the butter through the feed tube and process until blended.
Turn out crust dough into prepared pan. Flatten and press evenly over the bottom of the pan, forming a ½ inch edge up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
Stir brown sugar and flour in a medium bowl until blended.
Add corn syrup, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until well blended.
Add pecans and stir to coat them with the mixture.
Spread pecan filling in an even layer over the partially baked crust.
Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the pie filling sets.