Pecan Bars to Serve a Crowd
Almost like pecan pie in bar form, these serve a crowd, are sturdy enough to eat out of hand- and they mail well. Browning the butter for the crust and the filling adds a new dimension – one of buttery richness. And by the way, the crust is pat-in, so it is super fast and easy, with a great crisp texture.
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ cup honey, maple syrup, light or dark corn syrup or Lyle’s Golden Syrup
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups pecan halves, chopped fine
- Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 13x9-inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper extending over the short sides. Coat with nonstick spray; set aside.
- For the Crust: Melt the butter in a large saucepan just until it begins to brown – do not burn. Quickly whisk in brown sugar, then stir in flour and salt. Pat into even layer in prepared pan.
- Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until just beginning to color. Meanwhile make filling – you will want to pour filling over the warm base, so don’t dawdle!
- For the Filling: Melt the butter in a large saucepan just until it begins to brown – do not burn. Stir in brown sugar, sugar, honey (or liquid sweetener of choice), cream and salt and bring to a vigorous simmer, whisking often. Turn heat up and boil for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pecans. Pour hot filling mixture over hot shortbread and spread into an even layer. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is bubbling. Place pan on rack to cool completely. Lift foil or paper ends up and bars will pop out of pan. Peel them away and cut bars into whatever size you like – these are rich! You will get at least 24 bars out of the pan. Store at room temperature in airtight container in single layers separated by parchment paper for up to 4 days.
- Your choice of liquid sweetener is key here. If you use honey or maple syrup, those flavors will be prominent. Light corn syrup will be the most subtle. Dark corn syrup will add an almost molasses flavor. Our choice is Lyles Golden Syrup, which has a toffee-like flavor.
- You can dip these bars partially in chocolate or even easier – drizzle with melted dark chocolate from a fork or spoon. Simply melt about 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate and drizzle on bars while still in pan. Chill briefly to set chocolate before cutting.
- If mailing these, cut in larger sized bars, do not coat with chocolate, and separate each layer with parchment paper in your mailing tin. Read about mailing cookies and bars. Also consider wrapping each bar in a clear plastic bag with a colorful tie or ribbon. Instant snack-on-the-go.
- I never use a thermometer when I make these, however, if you find that the center of the bars do not set up for you, try using a candy thermometer for the filling and bring it up to 240°F before adding the pecans.
- You can also turn these into a mixed nuts bar by using mixed, unsalted nuts. They usually come in a combo of pecans, cashews, almonds, walnuts and sometimes a few other nuts thrown in for good measure like macadamia and Brazil. It is a festive option.