Bars & Brownies Currently Craving Seasonal

Pecan Pie Bars

November 20, 2023

When it comes to Thanksgiving desserts, a pecan pie is not one to be missed. Truth be told, I’m not […]

chocolate pecan pie bars on cooling rack

When it comes to Thanksgiving desserts, a pecan pie is not one to be missed. Truth be told, I’m not much of a pie person. But give me a warm batch of these Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars and we’re in business. These are part pecan pie/part cookie bar and I’m 100% IN!

close up of bars covered in melted chocolate and chopped pecans

Why I love this recipe

These quick and easy chocolate pecan pie bars come together in minutes and they deliver all the deliciousness of a traditional pecan pie with way less fuss. No need for chilling, rolling or crimping pie dough. Turning out the perfect pie crust takes patience and planning, and during the holidays….we’re all short on both! Enter these deliciously nutty, gooey, chewy pecan pie bars. Here’s why I love these bars:

Easy to make. Because they come together in just minutes, these bars make the perfect sweet treat in a hurry. Friendly warning….these bars are soooo decadent it’s impossible to eat just one!

Delicious flavor and texture. A crisp, shortbread crust topped with heaps of crunchy chopped pecans and melty chocolate chips. These bars are ooey, gooey, chewy heaven and the best part is they’re corn syrup free!

Perfect for feeding a crowd! A simple and delicious holiday dessert to feed a crowd – especially on Thanksgiving day! Whip these bars up at the last minute or prepare them the night before. They travel well too and are easy to slice into single serving sizes so they’re ideal for toting along to holiday parties.

cross section stack of chocolate pecan pie bars

Ingredients

These classic pecan pie bars bake up easily with just 15 minutes of prep time and a handful of simple ingredients. Stock up on the following ingredients and get ready to fall in love with these positively irresistible bars. 

  • Flour – Regular all-purpose flour is all you need for this recipe. Be sure to spoon and level your flour correctly or for best results, use a digital kitchen scale. You can substitute an equal amount of your favorite gluten free flour blend if you are looking for a gluten-free option. 
  • Butter – For best success, use unsalted, room temperature butter. If you didn’t leave the butter out ahead of time to soften, check this post for a fast and easy way to soften butter in a hurry. 
  • Sugar – This recipe calls for both granulated and light brown sugar. Dark brown sugar will work in place of the light brown.
  • Eggs – Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. Let your eggs rest on the counter for an hour before baking or soak them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before making the bars.
  • Maple syrup – There’s no corn syrup required for these pecan pie bars. Maple and pecan are a delicious combo that delivers the perfect texture. Use a good quality, grade A maple syrup for the very best flavor.  
  • Pecans – It wouldn’t be a pecan pie bar without pecans! Roughly chop the pecans for a bit of crunch in every bite.
  • Chocolate chips – Everything is better with chocolate I always say and this twist on the southern classic is no exception. I love the flavor that bittersweet chocolate lends to these bars – they are perfectly sweetened but not cloyingly so. If you prefer a sweeter bar, use semi sweet chocolate chips. 

How to make pecan pie bars

These bars are almost too easy to make which makes them perfect for last minute house guests or party invites. Follow this simple step-by-step guide and check the recipe card below for ingredients and detailed instructions.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Allow the parchment to extend over the sides of the pan by 2 inches for easy removal of the bars once baked. Set aside.

Step 2: In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy.

Step 3: Add the flour and salt and mix until well combined. The mixture will clump in little pea-sized bits at first. Continue mixing on low speed until the dough comes all the way together, pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Step 4: Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and use your hands or the back of a measuring cup to press it into the corners of the pan and level the top.

Step 5: Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the center is just set. Do not overbake. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

how to make shortbread crust

Step 6: While the crust is cooling, combine the eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine well.

Step 7: Once the crust is slightly cooled, cover the top with the chopped pecans and chocolate chips, leveling the top with your hands. Do not press the nuts and chips into the crust.

Step 8: Pour the egg and maple syrup mixture over the top of the nuts and chocolate, making sure to cover it completely.

Step 9: Bake for an additional 25 minutes or until the edges are set and the center is cooked through. If the top of the bars is browning too quickly towards the end of the baking cycle, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.

Step 10: Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely before slicing. Top with powdered sugar or a sprinkle of flakey sea salt if desired.

assembling pecan pie bars in baking pan lined with parchment paper
baked pecan pie bars in 9 x 13 baking pan lined with parchment paper

Tips for the best bars

These bars are ooey, gooey, crunchy, chewy perfection. And I love how easy they are to make! Just follow the tips and tricks below for the very best pecan pie bars.

Do not overbake the crust. Because the press-in crust is essentially baked twice, be careful not to over bake it on the first go around. The crust is done when the edges are ever so slightly golden brown and the center is just barely set.

Use good quality ingredients. For the very best flavor, use a high quality maple syrup and the best chocolate chips you can get your hands on. I love Guittard or Ghirardelli.  

Do not over bake. Once you add the pecan pie layer, be careful not to over bake the bars or they will turn out dry. For the best chewy gooey texture, bake until the edges are just set and the bars are bubbling a bit in the center.

Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting. These bars slice up best when completely cool so allow ample time to let the bars reach room temperature. For perfectly portioned pieces, slice with a sharp knife, cleaning the knife with warm water and a clean dishtowel in between each cut. The recipe makes 20 to 28 squares but slice them even smaller for bite-size desserts.

Sprinkle with flakey sea salt. Sprinkle with a pinch of flakey sea salt to really make the flavor of the chocolate shine through. It’s SO good!

sliced pecan pie bars topped with melty chocolate chips

How to serve and store

Once the bars have cooled completely, store them tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to three days. These bars are best served at room temperature. If you are feeling extra festive, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of salted caramel for a truly indulgent dessert. A dollop of bourbon whipped cream would be equally delicious!

To freeze the bars, cool completely and then wrap in two layers of plastic wrap and place inside a large freezer bag. Freeze flat for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature or warm in a 300°F oven for 10 minutes before serving.

pecan pie square sprinkled with flakey sea salt on parchment paper

FAQ’s

How do I know when the bars are done baking?

The edges will be golden brown and bubbling. If needed, extend the baking time longer than the 25 minutes. The filling should be fully set at the edges, but may still jiggle a bit in the center.

Can I make these bars gluten free?

Absolutely! These pecan pie cookie bars are just as delicious when made gluten free so feel free to substitute your favorite gluten free flour blend for the regular, all purpose flour. I like this one from King Arthur Baking.

Can I use another nut if I don’t like pecans?

Of course. These bars would be delicious with cashews or walnuts!

Can I double the recipe?

Yes. Feel free to double the recipe and bake in two 9 x 13″ pans side by side in the center of the oven.

Which kind of pecans work best?

You can use either chopped pecans or whole. Just be sure they are raw and unsalted.

Can I use honey instead of maple syrup?

I haven’t made this recipe using honey but it should work. Keep in mind, the bars will have a slightly different flavor.

bite taken out of pecan pie bar topped with flakey sea salt

If you try this recipe, please leave a star rating and a comment below to let me know how it turned out. Thanks in advance!

Happy baking!!

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Pecan Pie Bars Recipe

  • Author: Heather Mubarak
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 20 squares 1x
  • Category: Bars & Brownies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These best ever Pecan Pie Bars have all the deliciousness of a pecan pie with way less fuss! Made with a buttery, crisp shortbread crust and topped with heaps of chopped pecans and melted chocolate chips, these easy slice-and-serve bars are the perfect Thanksgiving dessert!


Ingredients

Units Scale

For Shortbread Crust

  • 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (220 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For Pecan Pie Filling

  • 2/3 cup grade A maple syrup, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar or flakey sea salt for sprinkling, optional

Instructions

For Shortbread Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the parchment to extend an inch or two over the sides of the pan for easy removal of the bars once baked.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the softened butter and granulated sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and salt, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. 
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and use your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup to press the shortbread dough into the corners of the pan evenly. Poke the crust with a fork.
  5. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden brown and the center is barely set. Do not over bake. Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

For Pecan Pie Filling

  1. Meanwhile, make the chocolate pecan pie topping. In a medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup, eggs, light brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla and salt until well combined.
  2. Once the crust is slightly cooled, top with chopped pecans and chocolate chips. Use your hands to level the top. Do not press the toppings into the crust.
  3. Pour the maple syrup and egg mixture over the top of the nuts and chips, being sure to cover it completely.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the edges are set and the center is baked through. Do not over bake. The bars will continue to bake from the residual heat once removed from the oven.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and cool the bars completely before slicing into squares. Top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or flakey sea salt if desired. 

Notes

Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

May be frozen.

*Recipe inspired by Martha Stewart

**Originally posted November 2020

Keywords: pecan pie bars, chocolate pecan pie bars

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    November 30, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    These were a great alternative to our traditional thanksgiving desserts. My husband ate half the pan! I loved that these were easy enough to get the kids involved but tasted much more complicated than they were. And I didn’t have to make pie crust – which is a huge plus! I have made these as written and in a 9×9 pan using 3/4 of the recipe, both turned out great.

  • Reply
    Suzie
    November 28, 2023 at 2:39 pm

    My husabnd loves pecan pie, but I love that this is an easier recipe and looks even tastier. Definitely baking this for the holidays.

  • Reply
    Emmanuelle
    November 22, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    Amazing recipe! It’s sooooo gooood!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    November 19, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    2/3 cup sweetener divided? Does it all go into the shortbread crust or is part of it added to the pecan topping?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      November 20, 2023 at 6:37 am

      I just updated this post with all new photos, step-by-step guide and an improved recipe. Hope you enjoy the bars!

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