So... confession... I've never eaten pecan pie before. Ever. Not because I don't like pecans or it doesn't seem appealing, though. It's just that whenever there's pecan pie around, there's also usually apple pie, which is my favorite, so I default to that. Anywho, I digress. Our favorite coffee shop has these delightful little confections they call pecan pie bars. They're positively delicious-- though I can't speak to their likeness to the traditional pie that no doubt inspired them. I love how the sugar caramelizes with the pecans to form this deliciously sweet crunchy crust all atop a delicious buttery shortbread-like crust. Seriously awesome. So, of course, I had to try making them.
I started with the shortbread crust recipe I used for the lemon bars earlier this week and for the topping I found a recipe on the internet, and then tweaked it to my liking.
Pecan Pie Bars Recipe
Pecan Pie Filling
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tbs melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (plus a tiny extra splash because I think extra vanilla compliments the carmel taste very nicely)
- 1 2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Line a 13x9" baking pan with parchment paper (as with my advice on the lemon bars-- the parchment paper is crucial if you do not want to spend the better part of your weekend painstakingly scrubbing caramelized sugar and pecans out of your baking pan... been there, done that, not fun. Learn from my mistake. Leah loves parchment paper. There, I said it.)
- In a medium bowl, mix together all of the crust ingredients. The consistency will be slightly crumbly once fully mixed.
- Pour the crumbly crust mixture into the 13x9" pan lined with parchment paper and use your fingers to press the mixture flat into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven or until firm and golden
- While the crust is baking, in a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugars, corn syrup, melted butter, and vanilla from the pecan pie filling recipe. (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer for this, although mixing in a medium sized bowl by hand with a whisk would work fine as well.)
- Add chopped pecans and stir gently.
- Pour pecan pie filling mixture over baked crust.
- Bake for an additional 25 minutes in the pre-heated oven or until the sides are firm and the center jiggles only very slightly when shaken gently.
- Allow bars to completely cool (at least one hour) before lifting the bars out of the pan using the edges of the parchment paper.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the bars into 2 inch squares .
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Base Recipe: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/pecan-pie-bars-i-2/Detail.aspx with modifications
Taste Test Impressions: Very sweet and crunchy. They seemed a little thicker than the pecan pie bars at the coffee shop that inspired this venture, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I love the carmel flavor. I think these turned out slightly softer in the center than the coffee shop bars-- it seems whenever I eat them at the coffee shop, they are always very firm-- even tough. Mine weren't soft in the center by any means-- just chewy. Bottom line- not exactly like the ones I was trying to replicate, but delicious in their own way. I'll wait for reviews to decide whether to try to make these thin and tougher or leave the recipe as is.