The Best Pecan Pie Bars – this easy recipe includes a simple shortbread bottom and a one bowl mix & pour topping. Tips for baking and cutting them are included.
There are many recipes out there for pecan pie bars and I had to play with a few of them before I got one I quite liked. For me there seemed to be a lot of recipes that didn’t have the right ratio of egg in the filling or didn’t bake for a sufficient time, so the middle was too runny.
There are other recipes that didn’t pre-bake the shortbread layer for long enough and it was too wet in the end. Other recipes called for pecans to be added to the simple shortbread crust which I thought was overkill. With so many crunchy pecans on top, why not leave the buttery shortbread to be a distinctly different layer?
I hesitated to post this recipe at all because there are so many versions of it already on line but after tweaking my own recipe and adding a couple of tips I think work well, I decided to share the recipe that works best for me. I hope it does the same for you.
1¾ cups all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¾ cup cold butter
For the top layer
⅔ cup firmly packed brown sugar
⅓ cup +1 tbsp flour
4 large or extra large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
1½ cups corn syrup dark is best
2 cups roughly chopped pecans no need to toast the pecans
This recipe uses a 9×13 baking pan. In this recipe I think it is best to line to lightly grease the pan and line it with parchment paper so that you can lift the entire batch out of the pan after they have cooled and cut them on a cutting board. With cookie bars like this, which have different textures in the different layers, this enables you to have a more precise feeling for how to cut them well. More about that a little later in the recipe.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F for aluminum bake ware and 325 degrees F for glass bake ware.
Mix together the 1/34 cups flour and ½ cup sugar. Rub the butter through the flour mixture until it is well incorporated and resembles a dry coarse meal. (You can pulse the butter into the flour mixture using a food processor if you prefer.)
Press the crumb mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. The edges should just be starting to brown. Remove from oven and pour on the topping while still hot.
To prepare the top layer of the cookie bars
Mix together the flour and brown sugar well. This will ensure there will be no lumps of either flour or brown sugar in you cookie bars when baked. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla extract, salt and corn syrup.
Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes while the bottom layer pre-bakes, stirring it occasionally. This gives the flour time to soften and help thicken the top layer.
Mix in the chopped pecans and pour the topping over the partially baked bottom crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes until the filling is set. Times vary a few minutes depending on the baking pan material. Shake the pan a little. The center can wobble a little like set jelly but it should not be runny.
Cool the pan to room temperature before chilling the cookie bars in the fridge for several hours or overnight before attempting to cut them
I lift the cookies from the pan after they have fully cooled in the fridge and lay them out on a cutting board. I’ve found the best thing to use is a sharp serrated knife held horizontally to saw through the nut layer before pushing on through to the softer layers below. I cut one entire row of cookies off at a time and then cut each row separately into individual cookie bars.
As these are quite rich I tend to cut them a little smaller than other cookie bars.