Y’all. You really have to give this recipe a shot. It is absolute perfection if you are a fan of pecan pie. Not too sweet, gooey, rich and incredibly good.
I have been making this recipe for a few years and it is always a hit. In fact this is the one recipe my family requests time and time again. To be perfectly honest, I don’t actually like pecan pie. I am not a pie person in general and pecan pie can often be too sweet and sticky for my taste. This bar I literally can not resist. It is sweet and salty and super flavorful. Just wait until you make them!
The ingredients for pecan pie bars are not cheap so I added as much detail as possible to be sure you get an amazing result. I have been making these for about 4 years now and it is for sure firmly in place as a family tradition for the holidays.
This recipe is from Ina Garten and the first time I made it, I found I had way to many pecan pie bars. I have cut the recipe in half- which still makes 12-18 bars- so find both options listed below.
- Shortbread Crust
- 2½ sticks salted butter - room temp
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2¼ cups flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks salted butter (1/2 lb)
- ½ cup honey or light corn syrup*
- 1½ cups brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 lb chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Start by prepping the crust. Mix the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
- Add eggs and vanilla and gently mix until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder and salt and slowly add to butter mixture, stirring well.
- The mixture will be extremely sticky so be sure to butter your baking dish really, really well.
- Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 pan and press down into the bottom of the dish firmly with your fingers to create the crust. I like to dust the mixture with flour or powdered sugar as it is very sticky.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until the crust is set but not brown. Let the crust cool completely before pouring on the filling.
- Next prepare the filling by adding butter, honey or corn syrup, zest and brown sugar to a sauce pan over low heat. Once the butter has melted, bring mixture to a boil and boil for about 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and slowly add cream and pecans (careful as the cream will splatter) and mix well.
- Pour over the crust and spread until even.
- Let cook for about 15 minutes. The mixture will be slightly jiggly in the center but fairly set on the sides. Honey takes a bit longer than corn syrup to cook.
- Allow to cool and cut into squares.
- Store in a zip top bag or tupperware in the fridge for a few weeks.
If you want to make more bars, the recipe doubles as follows for a 12×18 pan:
- 1 1/4 pounds of butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Pecan Pie filling:
- 1 pound butter
- 1 cup honey
- 3 cups light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 lbs pecans, chopped
The cooking time will likely be about 20 minutes for the crust and 30 minutes for the pecan pie filled crust.
Some quick notes:
I have tried this with corn syrup and honey. Either way is delicious but the honey is our preference. You get a deeper and more complex flavor with honey.
I prefer salted butter with this recipe because I like the sweet and salty contrast of pecan pie but unsalted works fine as well.
Actual cooking time may vary. I find about 15 minutes is great for the corn syrup version and closer to 25 for the honey version. The mixture will still jiggle a bit in the center but the sides will appear a bit more set when it is done. Once you set it on the counter to cool the mixture should set up well and be ready to cut.
I do like to put a cookie sheet under the pan when baking just in case any filling bubbles over. This would be a mess to clean off the bottom of the oven.
One last tip- it is important to use the right size pan. This recipe is for a 9×13 pan. If your pan is slightly smaller, you might not want to use all the shortbread for the crust as it will be too thick. You can leave a little extra shortbread and roll into disks to make cookies.
And here are a few other recipes you might enjoy: