Addictive Pecan Pie Bars
You won’t be able to stop eating these! They are so EASY to make and too dangerous to have around. BEST EVER pecan bars!
I’m NEVER making these bars again! EVER!
They need to get out of my life NOW!
They’ve been ruining my diet for the last 2 weeks and I’m so mad at them. (Yes…I’m dieting and I’m running a dessert blog. Go figure! Also…?)
I just. can’t. stop. eating them. And this is coming from a person who’s not even a big fan of nuts.
But when the nuts are cradled around something that does stuff like this…
How could I resist?!!!
With a tender, buttery brown sugar shortbread crust and toasty, crunchy pecans sitting atop a soft honey-laced caramel filling, how could anyone resist?!
You’d think you can get away with a small bite because you have self-control and whatnot, so you naively cut a tiny sliver at first, but then you keep coming back for a sliver after sliver after sliver, until before you know it…you’ve inhaled 3 bars!
To make matters worse, they keep really well for several days! I KNOW!!! That’s supposed to be a good thing, but you’ll find yourself snacking on them each and every time you pass anywhere near that darned airtight container, everyday, until there’s not a crumb left! Oh I’M MAD!
I think that pretty much explains my justifiable choice for the title…
They are easily some of the best things that have emerged out of my oven. And just let me remind you again that I’m not a nuts person by any means. Oh I’m definitely NUTS, see ?, but I mean you’ll never catch me snacking on some almonds, and walnuts better not touch my brownies and carrot cake.
But these…oh these…they are in a league of there own. They are chockfull of pecans but I couldn’t be more in love.
I would’ve never gotten anywhere near pie pecan of any sort if it wasn’t for a dear reader, Nadine, who emailed me last summer, asking if I had a good pecan pie recipe. She grew up on the pecan pie from Loblaws supermarket in Canada, and having lived in Canada myself, she felt I would be able to relate. I told her that I’ve never had that specific one, but promised to try it during my next trip to Canada so I could come up with something similar. Well, I did go to Canada, but sadly never got the chance to pass by Loblaws. However, while I was waiting in line to pay for a chai tea latte at Second Cup, I spotted very gooey looking pecan bars. I thought to myself…BINGO! Now that would make a good compromise. So I bought it, and then I was fighting my daughter over it.
The bar was so gooey and sweet and crunchy and decadent…just really really good. Amazing actually. I loved it so much that I took pictures of it and immediately made a mental note to myself to attempt a copycat recipe as soon as I fly back to Egypt.
Baking Nerd Alert!
As I was researching recipes, I found 2 types of pecan bar fillings. Both types start with a mixture of brown sugar, melted butter and some kind of liquid sweetener like corn syrup, maple syrup or honey. 1) The first type of filling method, uses eggs, simply gets mixed in a bowl, doesn’t get heated before pouring over the crust and more often than not goes with corn syrup for its liquid sweetener. 2) The second filling method, skips the eggs, gets briefly cooked over the stove and uses honey instead of corn syrup. I was wondering what kind of difference that will make in the final outcome…so I had to make both for delicious research purposes and test them side by side.
The filling made with eggs/corn syrup/no heat had a very gooey, pleasantly mushy texture similar to mashed dates. It tastes and feels like a classic pecan pie in bar form, and I suspect that this is the method that Second Cup uses for their bars. The ones made with heating the filling ingredients over the stove, has no eggs and uses honey, had a soft caramel-like texture that pulls and stretches and doesn’t feel mushy at all. It tastes a lot more caramel-y with whisps of honey than the egg version and the pecans somehow taste more toasted and pronounced.
My taste testers and I first tried the egg mixture version and we were like: Oh yum! That’s so good. Then we proceeded with trying the no-egg, caramel-like version and then we were like: OH MY GOD!!! These are flippin’ incredible; the other ones suck! And then we ate some more of it and the other ones were tragically neglected for life.
It took very little thought to conclude that the no eggs, honey-infused, caramel-y filling bars reign supreme. And while they might not have the texture of a classic pecan pie nor are they a copycat of Second Cup’s, they are simply amazing in their own right. After sinking your teeth into one these, I assure you you’ll convert to this type of filling, and you might just not make pecan pie ever again!
They are infinitely easier to make and less time consuming too. No rolling or chilling of pie dough or any of that process.
In fact, the crust starts with an easy brown sugar shortbread dough that you’ll simply press in a foil-lined pan. You could use the back of a measuring cup to get it extra smooth, then bake it until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
While the crust is in the oven, you’ll make this super easy filling by melting together butter, soft brown sugar, honey, a touch of heavy cream and a little salt. Now the honey contributes hints of flavor to the filling which I personally love; it’s subtle but detectable. Those who don’t know there’s honey, won’t notice it though. If you don’t like the taste of honey or allergic, you could swap it with light corn syrup, which is flavorless, or pure maple syrup.
You’re then gonna let your mixture simmer for ONLY 1 minute. More than that and your filling could harden and be candy-like. Immediately after that, you’ll stir in the pecans.
Then, spread it over the baked hot shortbread crust, then back into the oven for another 20 minutes. Don’t overbake! You just want the surface to bubble. The filling will still look very liquidy, don’t worry, it will set up upon cooling.
When it has cooled completely in the pan, you’ll use the foil overhang to lift the bars out, then cut cut cut. Make them as big or as little as you like, but don’t kid yourself you’re gonna end up eating 3 little ones instead of 1 big one anyway, so just cut to the chase and make them BIG.
Oh forget it! I’m going for one last bar!!! I hope it stays just ONE.
Warning: Get these out of your house fast…FAST!!!
And while you’re at it, why don’t you wrap ’em up in a cute little box and gift them to people you love, who don’t mind living in their stretchy pants.
They’ll love you even more, but their wardrobe won’t.
Spread the Pecan Pie Bars LOVE.
P.S. I have a little video of these bars getting made on my Instagram account and a longer version on my Facebook page. Be sure to check them out.
Addictive Pecan Pie Bars
You won’t be able to stop eating these! They are so EASY to make and too dangerous to have around. BEST EVER pecan bars!
For the shortbread crust:
- 3/4 cup (6oz/ 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2oz/ 99g) packed soft brown sugar (preferably light but dark is fine)
- 2 cups (8 1/2oz/ 240g) all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the pecan topping:
- 1/2 cup (4oz/113g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (7oz/199g) packed brown sugar (preferably light but dark is fine)
- 1/3 cup honey (*see not for substitution)
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (8oz/ 227g) coarsely chopped pecans
To make the shortbread crust:
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Line a 13 X 9-inch baking dish with a large sheet foil, leaving a two-inch overhang on all sides. Spray foil with a non-stick cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a medium bowl and an electric hand mixer) beat the butter on medium-high speed until soft and ribbon-like; about 1 minute. Add in the brown sugar and salt and beat together until lightened in both texture and color; 3 to 5 minutes.
- Turn down the mixer to lowest speed, then gradually add in the flour and mix until dough comes together in crumbles.
- Press the dough into the prepared baking dish, then using the back of a measuring cup, smooth out into an even layer.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. While the crust bakes, make the pecan filling.
To make the pecan filling:
- In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt together the butter, brown sugar, honey, heavy cream and salt. Bring mixture to a simmer then allow to simmer for exactly 1 minute. Don't overcook or the filling will be harden and become candy-like instead of soft and stretchy. Stir in the pecans.
- Take the shortbread crust out of the oven, then pour the pecan mixture over the hot shortbread and spread into an even layer.
- Return the baking dish to the oven and bake again until the top is bubbling; 12-18 minutes. Be sure to take it out of the oven as soon as the surface bubbles all over and no just around the edges. If you bake it beyond bubbling, the filling will not be as soft and chewy; so make sure not to overbake. The filling will still look liquidy, but will set up upon cooling.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan. If you're in a rush, you could speed up the cooling process by placing the pan in the fridge or freezer. Then, using the foil overhang lift the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Slide the foil from underneath the bars and discard, then cut into 16 bars; 4 rows by 4 rows. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- The honey contributes hints of flavor to the filling which I love. The honey flavor subtle but detectable. If you don't like the taste of honey, you could swap it with light corn syrup, which is flavorless, or pure maple syrup.
Filling recipe adapted from Just A Taste and Epicurious.
Shortbread recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart, reducing its amount to make a slightly thinner crust.
Measurements Note: All recipes of this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!
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Don’t you love/hate when a recipe is so good you don’t want to make it again? SO ADDICTING and definitely not the worst problem to have. These look and sound so so good–pecans are just the best.
Erin I couldn’t have said it better. It truly is a love/hate relationship. I love them so much but my diet hates them! If only I had the metabolism of a 7 year old boy ?
Oh my God, Tasbih…first… I laughed through this whole post, but you are KILLING me with these bars! The last time I made pecan pie bars, I made Barefoot Contessa’s…that recipe makes a humongous batch, and I didn’t love them, no stretchy pants worries there… I do love nutty things, but I think they were actually too nutty. I love pecan pie with the classic filling, but these…THESE…THESE look ridiculous! Ugh…NOW I have to make time to make these, aaaand those chocolate chip muffins AND that sweet potato toffee cake…What the heck? You know I have a blog to run lol! (Printing and pinning for the must try pile…)
Hahahaaaa? Ramona you ALWAYS make me laugh!
I remember running into Barefoot Contessa’s recipe while “researching” and was turned off by the HUGE amount and the very thick crust. I wanted it to be more about the pecan filling than the crust. With Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up I think you have yourself the best excuse to try at least this one.
oh my. these do look so good and addictive. maybe I shouldn’t make them….
Hahaaa? Make them as a test for your willpower!
Hi Tasbih, Does the nuts have to be toasted before they are added to the filling mixture? And can I replace with pecans with almonds? Its either impossible to get pecans in Bangalore or they cost an arm and a leg. And Im dying to try this out asap…
Hi Sarah:) No the pecans don’t need to be toasted beforehand because they get toasted when they go into the oven with the mixture. Sure you could use any type of nut you like. I think walnuts is as close you could get to pecans but almonds would work too.
hi Cleobuttera , i tried this pecan pie par , it tastes good but doesn’t look like yours , the base is hard as biscuit , and the filling doesn’t give that stretchy look….. what i did wrong? thank you
Hi Noha 🙂 Thanks for trying the recipe & for your feedback. The base is meant to be crunchy like a cheesecake crust or a shortbread cookie, but it’s buttery & shouldn’t be hard to eat at all. If this is how it turned out for you, then you didn’t do anything wrong, maybe you were just expecting a soft cookie texture. You could underbake it if you’d prefer a softer cookie.
As for the filling, could you please describe how it turned out so I could help you better. Was it too runny? Too hard & chewy? Also what type of brown sugar did you use? Was it the super soft kind that feels like wet sand or the very coarse one? The coarse kind would ruin the filling because it won’t melt to give you a caramel, so it will make a runny filling with coarse bits. The soft kind is the only way to go! If you got a hard filling, then maybe you cooked it longer than it should over the stovetop. Waiting for your answer…let me know!
To be honest, i had a small amount of pecan so i divided the recipe by 3 (i couldn’t wait to buy more). The filling, i didn’t use brown sugar (substituted by super fine white suger +molases). The filling seemed to be little amount when pouring on the crust, almost few drops of liquid+the pecan. It taste good but yours seem incredible smile 🙂
Ok now that explains it it’s the brown sugar substitution for sure. The white sugar/molasses substitution only works in cake batters were texture is not as important, but when making a caramel sauce that is brown sugar based, it ends up in complete failure unfortunately. White sugar won’t melt, so it needs to be caramelized first to be able to produce caramel. In that recipe specifically it is of utmost importance to use imported SOFT brown sugar like dominos brand or billingtons. The Egyptian type of brown sugar that feels like white sugar won’t work. It’s ok you’ll nail it next time.
Making 1/3 of the recipe is ok, I do it all the time, but cooking & baking time will be shorter because it’s a smaller amount. I think this is why you felt that the filling is too little since cooking it for the same amount of time as the bigger amount, will result in higher evaporation of the liquid.
Does it feel like I’m stalking your blog? Because, indeed I am! Entirely your fault for coming up with such amazing recipes, like these bars….oh my God, oh my God, OH MY GOD!!!!!!! These are like crack! Or what I assume crack would taste like….sooooo good. The only mistake I made was making 1/3 rd the recipe and baking it in a loaf pan (I was just looking out for my hips), but I’m seriously, seriously questioning that decision… These were gone in literally maybe 10 minutes, like not even a crumb left to show for their once-existence. Since we don’t have pecans here in Pakistan, and I wanted to stick with the original recipe and not turn them into Walnut CRACK Bars, I asked a family friend visiting to bring me a bag….BEST decision ever!!!!
I never comment on blogs, but I wanted to let you know all the hard work you put in testing, and putting recipes together is much appreciated! Thank you!
Mahvish you make me laugh 🙂 Stalk all you want girl, I’m enjoying it lol!
And these bars…aaaaaahhhh! I totally feel you; once you pop you can’t stop. I’m actually quite relieved to know I’m not the only one who have no self control over them. I’m so happy they were worth your special bag of pecans.
Thank you so much Mahvish for your appreciation. Your kind words just made my day!
I seriously would NEVER stop eating these. They look like crack! (in terms of the addictive nature, that is) That texture!
Oh my goodness what an honor to have you stop by my blog and leave a comment! I’ve been following your blog since as long as I can remember. Kinda obsessed with your whimsical unicorn and cupcake art! Gorgeous! And yes these bars…they are SO true to their name, it’s so bad. Proceed at your own risk ?
These are beautiful!! HAHA- Dieting and running a dessert blog… all in moderation? I feel your pain. But these look kinda worth it. XO
It’s SO haaaaaaaard? I mean we at least have to “taste” everything in the name of research and quality control right? I guess it’s a sacrifice that we have to make for the greater good of the world ?
YES. We are basically heroes.
I’m not a nut person, but I made these last week but I substituted pecans for almonds and walnuts because it’s to hard to find pecans here in India. And I also halved the shortbread recipe because I wanted a thinner base. They were insanely good! I gave my family one piece and finished the rest myself! ?
Amazing! That’s so awesome to hear. So happy you enjoyed them Najwa 🙂
Hiiii…! I’m just about to make these but was a little confused as to the heavy whipping cream… I’m from the uk… Is this the same as the uk whipping cream?… 🙂
Hi Sai! Yup! Same thing.
I googled it and it sme us as double cream so I used that instead…. And they turned out delicious.!!!!! They really are addictive..! Does double cream/whiling cream make a diff.???.
Yaaaaay Sai! So happy to hear that you loved them! I guess that if double cream can whip then they’re same:)
Hi Tasbih, i love the pecan pie bars from second cup! I can’t wait to make these! Do you know if these would freeze well??
Hi Cindy! Aren’t those Second Cup ones amazing?! I also love their honey date squares; so decadent.
These would freeze just fine ?
Made these took to work and everyone loves them thanks so much
So happy to hear that! They’re one of my personal favorites. You’re now having me crave some ?
These were the BOMB – a nice change up from pie – so buttery and gooey. Very easy to make – good call on pulling when bubbly (final cook time less then recommended).
That’s amazing to hear Sharon! I learned about the bubbling tip the hard way. I’ve always had baked it for 20 minutes in my oven without any problems and then one day, the filling bubbled before it should, so I left it in anyway until the 20 minutes were over, and to my dismay, they filling was too hard. I think it all depends on how hot your filling is to begin with when you pour it over the bottom. Lesson learnt…just stick to visual cues☺️
Sooo, I’m making these again this year and thinking of browning the butter for the shortbread and throwing in half a cup worth of extra pecans in the filling. Clearly, I’m letting my heart make all the decisons around here and not my head. 😀
Also, no new recipe?!?! 🙁
Sounds like a delicious plan! But he warned that browned butter will most likely take its addictiveness to new levels?
About posting again, I wish! I really miss blogging too? Unfortunately, I’ve been having some health issues lately, which is draining away my energy to blog. I’m unintentionally taking some time off to adapt to my medications & hopefully will be back once I feel healthy enough to work again.
Thanks for checking in?
Oh no! Hope you feel better soon, Tasbih. Wishing you all the best in your recovery xoxo
Oh, and these with browned butter were absolutely criminal. Had to give them away lest I ate them all heh
Thanks Mahvish! I’m much better now…hopefully I’ll get back to blogging soon. And I have got to turn your browned butter version.
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Hi Tasbih,i followed the recipe to a Tee but the taste of honey was very overpowering.. what went wrong?
Hi Alia! I don’t think you did anything wrong…it’s probably just the type of honey used. Some kinds of honey, like clover or wildflower, are more overpowering in flavor than others. Just be sure to use the mildest honey available, which is typically the regular, off-the-mill supermarket honey; I use Jannah. The end result should have a whiff of honey; nothing prominent at all, but if you’re still not a fan of that, then go for light corn syrup instead, as it’s flavorless and won’t add any taste to the bars.
Hope this helps!
Loved them! They are indeed addictive! Well done! And yay for me for finding the recipe ? thank you so much. I tagged you in my instagram photo, if you want to see the result
Dangerous stuff right?! LOL! So glad you loved them. Yay! I love seeing pictures; will surely search for yours. If your account is public, then I should be able to easily find it.
OMG … they are piece of heaven! I love ANYTHING that has pecan, Thank you for the great recipe and may god help me with the few pounds I’m going to gain thanks to these little ones ?
Hahahaaa! May God help us all and give us the strength to control ourselves in front of things like these lol! I’m really happy to hear that you loved them as much as we do.
Where can I find corn syrup & maple syrup in Cairo please??
Hi Ghada! I can usually find corn syrup at Mariam Market in Maadi. As for pure maple syrup, I’ve seen it many times at Seoudi. Hope that helps!
Any suggestions what I can sub the whipping cream for? I’m ok with butter but not cream. Could I use heavy/whole fat coconut milk or oat milk? Thanks! Alicia
Can you freeze these bars? I need them to stay fresh for church which is in 5 days… this is my only day I have time to bake! Or maybe I should keep in fridge..
Made this recipe today. They are delicious and you can’t just eat one. Will definitely make them again. They will become a staple in recipe box.
Tried it yesterday. Just delicious. Thank u
OMG it’s looks super delicious. I’m going to bake it today but I don’t have foil to cover the pan and unable to go out due to lockdown. May I know what can I substitute with the foil? Just curious why using the foil instead of parchment paper?
Thank you Cheryl! Sure. You can definitely use parchment paper instead ?
Just going to kill everyone’s vibe by saying I made these vegan and they were AMAZING. Probably not many vegans lurking around on a site which has butter in the name but in case anyone’s interested I just used a dairy-free sunflower spread and single soy cream and they came out perfect. Looking forward to trying the other recipes x
Hahahaaaaa ? No actually that’s really helpful. Thank you so much for all your tips! I’m so happy to hear that they came out really successful with all the changes.
I only have half and half. Will that work instead of the heavy cream?