Pecan Shortbread Brownies

My baking habits and tastes have changed over the years, but longtime favorites still endure. Chocolate, pecans, and shortbread are always winners for me. When I find a recipe that combines all three, how can I not make it?

I happened upon the recipe for these brownies when browsing through Fat Witch Brownies. Fat Witch is a delicious little brownie shop in New York’s Chelsea Market. When we lived in Manhattan, we lived just a few blocks away and visited the market frequently. We often ate dinner at one of the restaurants there, did a little shopping, and then hit up Fat Witch for our brownie fix.

Now that we live in Brooklyn, I don’t get to visit Fat Witch as often. But, with their cookbook, I can recreate some of that deliciousness at home. I can’t remember seeing these brownies in the shop, but I couldn’t resist baking them.

Pecan Shortbread Brownies feature dark, rich brownies on top of a nutty shortbread crust. - Bake or Break

This is a lovely layered brownie that begins with a pecan shortbread crust. Topping that off is a dark chocolate brownie with even more pecans. I love how the simplicity of the shortbread contrasts with the richness of the brownie. The presence of pecans in both layers ties it all together. The pecans in the brownie are technically optional, but my love of them makes me incapable of omitting them.

Keep in mind that shortbread tends to be on the crumbly side. If your crust is a bit crumbly, don’t fret. That’s just the nature of shortbread. For best results, cool the brownies completely and use a sharp knife to cut into bars.

Pecan Shortbread Brownies

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 38 minutes

Yield: 16 2-inch brownies

Pecan Shortbread Brownies


    For the crust:
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • For the brownies:
  • 12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans


To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined but crumbly. Add egg yolk and mix until smooth.

Add flour and mix just until combined. Stir in pecans.

Transfer dough to prepared pan. Press firmly and evenly into bottom of pan. Bake 8 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

To make the brownies:

Place butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave at half power in 30-second increments until butter has melted and chocolate melts when stirred. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Add brown sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla to cooled chocolate mixture and mix well. Gently mix in flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Stir in pecans.

Spread batter evenly on top of partially baked crust. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.

Cool completely in pan on wire rack before cutting into bars.


Recipe adapted from Fat Witch Brownies.

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  1. Marcie May 7, 2013 Reply

    Wow, these look incredible! Brownies and shortbread sound so delicious together, and with a pecan crunch, even better! 😃

  2. Leah May 7, 2013 Reply

    Be still my heart…BRB, I’m making these right now!

  3. Mmm what a treat!

  4. Tahnycooks May 7, 2013 Reply

    I love shortbread! Especially with pecans, yum!

  5. Joanne May 7, 2013 Reply

    I’ve only made one recipe out of the fat witch cookbook and it was amazing (the white chocolate blondies)…I definitely need to crack it open again, specifically to make these!

  6. I’ve never had a fat witch brownie but this looks great! I can see why you come back for more.

  7. Leah May 7, 2013 Reply

    Ok, so I’m reporting back…I made it, and I’m eating it warm with coffee right now.

    In my haste to get this from the mixer into my mouth, I misread the ingredients for the crust and added a whole egg instead of an egg yolk. I don’t think it made a difference at all, other than it was a little stickier to spread in the pan, and rose a little during the first baking. Top layer was made according to directions, and the whole thing is great. RICH…the chocolate is SUPER rich tasting, but in the small squares – it’s all good.

  8. Leah May 7, 2013 Reply

    I forgot to add…next time, I might use Almond extract instead of vanilla, for an extra nutty flavor.

  9. JEP May 7, 2013 Reply

    Lots of my favorite ingredients all in one little square pan. I’m thinking the contrast between the two layers will really bring out the best of both.

  10. jennifer May 7, 2013 Reply

    Leah, I’m impressed with how quickly you made these! I love recipes that use what I already have on hand. Glad you liked them!

  11. I LOVE fatwich brownies! I’m sure your homemade ones are even better- I can’t wait to try these!

  12. Connie May 8, 2013 Reply

    I like the two tone effect and I agree with Leah that almond extract would work really nicely. This is definitely one recipe I’m going to try. Thanks!

  13. Oooh these look super tasty-and the fact that it’s a fatwich brownie recipe makes it even better!

  14. Qasid March 11, 2014 Reply

    hmm looks great .. nice recipe. I enjoyed it

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