Soft and chewy Pecan Pie Bars. These chewy bars feature a buttery shortbread crust, and a simple brown sugar, maple and pecan caramel. All the flavours of a pecan pie with half the fuss!
Hello fall 🍁 And hello Pecan Pie Bars!
Deliciously sticky maple caramel loaded with crunchy pecans, sitting on a buttery shortbread crust.
These baked Pecan Pie Bars taste just like the real thing but are quicker to make (sans pie crust) – so they’re sure to be a fam fave.
I remember I first tasted real Pecan Pie five years ago, when my husband and I were road-tripping through Texas. One bite and I was smitten.
You’ll love that these homemade bars have all the flavour of traditional Pecan Pie without all the fuss. We forget about the pie crust and instead opt for an easy 3 ingredient shortbread base.
The sticky caramel is also made with just a handful of ingredients. Think sweet brown sugar, sticky maple syrup and plenty of butter. And then there’s the star of the show – those golden, crunchy pecans.
Baked until golden, these pie bars are sure to become a staple in your kitchen. They certainly are in mine!
How to make pecan pie bars
There are two parts to these bars – the shortbread cookie base and the maple caramel. The shortbread comes together in minutes and is par-baked in the oven. The caramel is made on a stovetop and then both are combined and baked. You’ll need to give these bars plenty of time to set in the fridge – but it’ll be worth it!
- These bars start with a simple shortbread crust. Begin with room temperature butter. Use an electric mixer to combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy.
- Add flour and salt and mix briefly until a soft cookie dough forms. I recommend measuring your flour using a scale so you can get the exact butter to flour ratio. Too much flour and your base will be dry and crumbly once baked, too little and it’ll be wet and stodgy. Transfer cookie crust to an 8 inch baking pan lined with baking or parchment paper.
- Use your fingers or the back of a dessert spoon to press the crumbs down to form one even layer. Then bake crust in a moderate oven for 12-14 minutes or until just golden brown on the edges. Set aside to cool.
- To make the caramel, place butter, brown sugar and maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Turn up heat and bring caramel to the boil.
- Once it’s boiling, put a timer on for 3 minutes – any less and your caramel won’t set. Let it bubble away, stirring occasionally. The caramel will turn dark amber in colour and thicken ever so slightly. Once the 3 minutes is up, remove caramel from heat. Don’t worry if the caramel still seems quite runny at this point.
- Stir caramel until it stops bubbling and frothy – it should be nice and smooth. Stir in cream, vanilla and salt. It is VERY important that your cream is at room temperature and not cold from the fridge otherwise it may seize your hot caramel.
- Finally, stir through pecans until they’re completely coated. Then pour pecan caramel mixture over cookie crust. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until caramel darkens and top layer begins to set. It will continue to firm up as it cools so don’t worry if it still looks soft in parts.
- Leave to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes and then place in the fridge to set for 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, slice bars into small squares. Enjoy straight or with a serving of homemade whipped cream.
More fall recipes to try
Tasty Pecan Pie Bars made from scratch without corn syrup.
Shortbread cookie crust
- 115 grams (1/2 cup / 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 45 grams (1/4 cup) brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 175 grams (1 and 1/4 cup) plain flour or all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
Pecan caramel filling
- 115 grams (1/2 cup / 1 stick) unsalted butter, roughly chopped
- 90 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) good quality maple syrup
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) thickened or heavy cream, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sea salt
- 275 grams (2 and 1/2 cups) pecans
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Line an 8-inch square baking tin with baking or parchment paper, ensuring two sides of the paper overhang.
- In a large mixing bowl, add butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add flour and salt and beat briefly just until soft cookie dough forms.
- Transfer cookie dough to prepared baking pan. Press down using the back of a spoon to form one even layer. Place in the oven for 12-14 minutes or until cookie crust starts to go golden on the edges. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
- To make the caramel, place butter, brown sugar and maple syrup in a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Stir continuously until butter melts and sugar dissolves.
- Turn heat up to medium-high, and bring caramel to the boil. Once caramel is boiling, keep it on the heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. The caramel will bubble away and look frothy.
- Remove caramel from heat and stir briefly until bubbles disappear and the mixture is nice and smooth. Add cream (cream MUST be at room temperature to avoid the mixture seizing), vanilla and sea salt. Stir.
- Finally, add pecans and stir until they’re completely coated in caramel. Pour pecans and caramel over cooled cookie crust. Smooth the top.
- Bake pecan pie bars for approximately 30 minutes or until caramel darkens and is bubbling around the edges. The caramel may still look runny – this is ok. It will firm up as it cools.
- Leave bars to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Then place in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours to set completely. Cut into small squares and devour.