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bite taken out of pecan pie bars on white plate
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5 from 3 votes

Pecan Pie Shortbread Bars

Every bite of these pecan shortbread bars is delectable. You just need 15 minutes of prep time and 9 ingredients to make these amazing pecan pie bars. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make pecan pie shortbread bars, pecan pie bars, pecan pie shortbread bars, pecan pie shortbread bars recipe
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 405kcal

Ingredients

Shortbread crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (240g)
  • cup granulated white sugar (67g)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • cup unsalted butter, cold (198g)

Pecan filling

  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed (150g)
  • cup maple syrup (80ml)
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream (30ml)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 vanilla bean* (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (113g)
  • 3 cups pecan nuts, roughly chopped (300g)

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

Recommendations
  • Do not overbake, or they will become dry and hard. 
  • Make sure always to use cold butter, not melted. 
  • Don't overmix the shortbread crust. 
Substitutions
Can I Use Walnuts Instead Of Pecans?
Yes, you can actually 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. 
Can I Replace Flour With A Gluten-Free Flour?
Yes, absolutely! If you eat a gluten-free diet, don't worry, you can easily substitute the regular flour for a gluten-free flour blend. The ratio is 1:1. These pecan shortbread bars recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, so you could just replace it with 2 cups of a gluten-free flour blend.
What Can I Substitute For Maple Syrup?
If you aren't a fan of maple syrup or you don't have any on hand, you can substitute honey or even corn syrup. The flavors will be slightly different no matter which one you choose, but will still taste great. 
*First, cut off the straight end of the vanilla bean. Then place the tip of your sharp knife below the curled end and cut the vanilla bean through the middle of the bean lengthwise. Although you don't need to cut it all the way through, it's ok when you do so. Then open the vanilla bean and scrape out the flavorful seeds with the back of your knife. Just use the seeds.

Nutrition

Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 525IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1.3mg