Pecan Pie Bars are easy to make for the holidays, easy to transport, and even easier to eat. They're just like pecan pie, but no need for the knife and fork!
For the shortbread crust:
- 2 cups (9oz/255g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (3.5oz/100g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (6oz/170g) unsalted butter cut into pieces
For the pecan filling:
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 3/4 cup (3.5oz/100g) dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- Extra pecan halves, for placing on top of the bars
1 Preheat the oven and prep the pan: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and line an 8x8-inch square baking pan (metal or glass) with parchment. Make sure to line at least the bottom and two sides so you can easily lift the bars from the pan.
I use a large piece of parchment (pre-cut for a sheet pan) and fit the whole thing into the baking pan, folding in the corners, so I can lift out the bars in one piece and not have to deal with any sticky filling baking onto the sides or bottom of the pan.
2 Make the crust: Pulse the flour, sugar, salt, and butter into a food processor until combined. The mixture will be sandy.
Continue to process the mixture until it goes from sandy to clumpy. When this starts to happen the food processor will actually sound different. It will be less high-pitched and have more of a low rumble sound.
3 Bake the crust: Once the crust mixture clumps up, transfer it from the food processor to the prepared pan. Press it firmly and evenly in the bottom of the pan.
Pierce the crust all over with a fork and bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until light to medium golden brown all over.
4 Prepare the filling: Add the chopped pecans to a mixing bowl and set aside. Using the same food processor bowl used to make the crust (no need to clean it out), combine the brown sugar, flour, salt, eggs, vanilla bean paste, and corn syrup (add the corn syrup last so it doesn’t get stuck on the bottom of the food processor).
Pulse until completely combined. Pour the mixture over the chopped pecans and fold to combine.
5 Bake the bars: Once the crust is baked, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F. Scrape the pecan mixture onto the baked crust. Place an extra few pecan halves on the top of the filling as decoration.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is just set. If the center still jiggles, bake for a few more minutes; if you notice the bars starting to puff in the middle, remove them immediately.
6 Cool and serve: Cool the bars on a rack completely before lifting from the pan. Cut into 2x2-inch squares and serve. These bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.