Every bite of these pecan shortbread bars is delectable. You just need 15 minutes of prep time and 9 ingredients to make them. They are so easy and feed a crowd! By the way, have you tried apple pecan bars yet?
Add the flour, sugar, salt, and butter to the food processor to make the shortbread crust. Continue to pulse until it becomes clumped.
Then transfer the shortbread crust to a paper lined baking pan. Use your fingers to press it evenly in the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust becomes a golden brown which will take around 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, begin preparing the pecan filling. Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Then add in the brown sugar, maple syrup, heavy cream, salt, vanilla, and butter. Heat to a simmer then cook for a 1 minute. Make sure to stir constantly, so it doesn't burn.
Remove saucepan from heat and stir in chopped pecans.
Add pecan mixture to the baked crust. Make sure it's even. Then bake.
- Pecans - you can use walnuts instead of pecan if you want to. The flavor and texture will be slightly different, but not a ton. So if you have an aversion to pecans, you will be happy to know you can exchange walnuts in most pecan desserts without too many issues.
- Maple Syrup - If you aren't a fan of maple syrup or you don't have any on hand, you can substitute honey, agave, golden or even corn syrup. The flavors will be slightly different no matter which one you choose, but will still taste great.
Expert tips for success
- Make sure to use cold butter straight out of the fridge, for the flakiest shortbread crust. Also, don't overwork the crust in the food processor.
- Don't overcook the honey filling or it will turn dark brown and taste bitter.
- Avoid overbaking, or the filling will become dry and hard and tough to bite.
How to tell when they are done
You can tell that the pecan pie bars are done when the topping looks to be set. It's vital not to overbake any pecan desserts, especially these pecan bars. They will not be very good if you accidentally do.
After the bars have cooled completely, cover them. They should be kept airtight for up to three days. You do not need to refrigerate them, and they taste fabulous at room temperature.
They should be stored in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. Keep in mind; they will stick to each other if they are touching when you freeze them. To help with this issue, I recommend flash freezing.
To flash freeze, simply cut the bars and place them on a cookie sheet so that they aren't touching. Then place the pan in the freezer for 2 hours. After they are frozen, you can put them in the freezer container, and they won't stick together anymore. Grab what you need! They will last 2-3 months in the freezer.
More bars recipes to try
Pecan Pie Shortbread Bars
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- ⅓ cup granulated white sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅞ cup unsalted butter, cold
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a 9"x13" (23x33cm) baking pan with parchment paper with an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
- Make the shortbread crust in a food processor: Place flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor and pulse until it starts to clump. Transfer to the prepared baking pan and press with your fingers evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes until crust is lightly browned.
- If you don't have a food processor, then make the shortbread crust with a pastry cutter or two forks instead: In this case mix together flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Then add butter and cut it into the mixture until it starts to clump.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the pecan filling: Over medium-high heat, in a medium-sized sauce-pan, combine brown sugar, maple syrup, heavy cream, salt, vanilla*, and butter and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute and stir constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped pecans.
- Remove crust from the oven and pour pecan mixture over the crust evenly. Then return to the oven and bake an additional 20-25 minutes. The longer you bake them the harder and dryer the filling will be. I baked the filling for exactly 20 minutes.
- Remove pecan pie shortbread bars from the oven and let cool completely. Then lift them out of the pan with the paper and cut into 20 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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