Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

For me, Christmas season starts as soon as the last trick-or-treater takes their candy and walks away from my front door. This year, actually, while I waited for the little ones to come I planned out Christmas decorations. Quinn, being the ever-loyal husband, followed me around the house making notes and drawing sketches for me. So, it comes as no surprise that this recipe comes from Southern Living’s Big Book of Christmas Baking.

Not wanting to spend hours in the kitchen, I was looking for something easy and quick. This recipe fit the bill on both counts. These little bars mix up in no time, with only a mixing bowl and a saucepan to clean up. The flavor is good, too. For only having a handful of ingredients, they are very rich. The middle layer of pecans and the caramel-ish stuff is almost like toffee in taste and texture.

My only problem with these is the chocolate on top. The chocolate chips were added after baking, and then after a few minutes they were to be swirled into the bars with a knife to create a marbled effect. That didn’t work out so well, so I ended up just kind of spreading it around like frosting. Knowing that now, I would probably use more than a cup of chocolate chips to have plenty to cover all of the bars.

These would be great for Christmas or for any time. Somehow, just baking out of a Christmas cookbook makes it seem more like Christmas. Be prepared, everyone, as Christmas approaches I may not be able to control all my baking urges.

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Yield: 54 1"x2" bars

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars


    For the crust:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • For the filling:
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips


To make the crust:

Beat butter until creamy. Add brown sugar and mix well. Add flour gradually and mix well.

Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9″x13″ pan. Sprinkle with pecans.

To make the filling:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil, and continue stirring for about 30 seconds.

Pour over crust and pecans. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand for a few minutes, and then use a knife to cut through chocolate. Cool and cut into bars.



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  1. peabody November 6, 2006 Reply

    Those look fantastic. I too have had the Christmas baking bug already and (hang my head in shame) I played Chrstmas music today.

  2. Robyn November 7, 2006 Reply

    Those are some delicious looking bars! And bring on the Christmas baking! 😛

  3. Roxanne November 7, 2006 Reply

    long time lurker first time poster!

    those look just like these turtle bars that my mom makes around christmas time! I am so excited to start baking and spending time in the kitchen and decorating.
    i so look forward to all the things you will bake/blog! yay for christmas!

  4. Vanessa Balchen November 7, 2006 Reply

    Oh my…your blog is simply the bomb. So many delicious things to make and eat. I’m not the Christmas kind…I lean towards Festimas…but there is certainly room at our table for any of your recipes. I’ll be back!

    • KDawg February 17, 2014 Reply

      FESTIVUS…Not Festimus

  5. Lauren November 7, 2006 Reply

    What is not to love about these… yum!

  6. jennifer November 7, 2006 Reply

    Thanks, y’all! I hope to do a lot of holiday baking in the next several weeks.

  7. Jann November 8, 2006 Reply

    I think these are wonderful to give away during the holidays! I certainly would enjoy a plate right now! Happy Cooking

  8. Gina November 8, 2006 Reply

    These look great…and my boyfriend would love ’em except for the chocolate on top he doesn’t dig it :( How about white chocolate on top? any suggestions?

  9. jennifer November 9, 2006 Reply

    Gina, I think white chocolate is a great idea!

  10. Brilynn November 9, 2006 Reply

    I think I’d have a problem eating only one of those.

  11. Ivonne November 9, 2006 Reply

    Oh. Wow.

    I would have eaten all of these if I’d been present!

  12. Ashley November 10, 2006 Reply

    I love the holidays! What a perfect time of year to showcase the many wonderful sweet recipes such as this one.
    These look so delicious.

  13. Andrea November 16, 2006 Reply

    These look delicious! I’ll have to add this recipe to our Christmas cookie list!

  14. Duan September 20, 2009 Reply

    I’ve made these for funerals, good times and work. Everyone loves them and I always get requests for the recipe. I make the crust in my food processor for a really fast recipe. I also use a fine quality dark chocolate chip and plenty of them!

  15. Heather Johnson February 12, 2014 Reply

    I made these last night exactly as stated and I found my crust was crumbly. Did anyone else have that problem? I wondered if I should use less flour or more butter next time? Suggestions?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry February 12, 2014 Reply

      Hi, Heather. It sounds like you might have had too much flour. If you’re not weighing the flour, then try fluffing the flour and then spooning it into a measuring cup until it’s overfilled. You can then use the back of a knife to scrape across the top to remove the excess.

      • Karen December 14, 2014 Reply

        I measured the flour & I can tell the flour mix is too dry are you 100% sure you use only 1/2 cup of butter against 2 cups flour?

        • Author
          Jennifer McHenry December 14, 2014 Reply

          Yes, the recipe is correct. I made it just as the original Southern Living recipe I referenced. The crust mixture may be crumbly but should hold together when pinched.

  16. Heather February 14, 2014 Reply

    I’m making these for Valentines Day right now, and I’m wondering if you ladies are baking the crust before putting the filling in? Thank you very much in advance!

  17. Shirley Keels March 3, 2014 Reply

    Light Brown or Dark Brown Sugar???

  18. Sue March 7, 2014 Reply

    I had no luck with these bars.The crust was hard and I do alot of baking. I think there is too much flour making he crust dry and hard and the brown sugar may have contributed to this flop.

  19. Rhonda March 9, 2014 Reply

    Yet another Facebook failure! I tried making these bars and kept thinking all the way through that the recipe just seemed doomed to fail. Only flour, sugar and butter in the crust? Every caramel I’ve ever made has cream or milk in it…it came out of the oven very liquid-like, runny. I waited a minute to add the chocolate chips, hoping the “caramel” would firm up. Once I put the chocolate on top and let it sit before swirling it around, it just seemed to separate…pools of butter on the chocolate. I did not use cheap brand ingredients and have been baking for over 35 years…I blame the recipe. Two thumbs down for waste of expensive ingredients!

  20. Betty March 19, 2014 Reply

    Looks wonderful

  21. Janet May 17, 2014 Reply

    Sounded delicious but wasn’t a fan. Too much flour for the butter in the crust. Added more butter before cooking hoping to moisten it up a bit. Bars still had too much of a “flour-y” taste. As far as the filing, recipe didn’t make enough to cover the entire dish. Had to make more. Still didn’t work. Not sure what went wrong, but picture was more pleasing than final product.

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