Caramel Pecan Bars

It’s November, folks. That means all my thoughts are turning to the upcoming busy baking season. And, to me, pecans are a big part of the impending baking extravaganza. Sure, I bake with them all year, but this time of year just makes me want to put them in everything.

Of course, pecan pie is always an obvious favorite. That encompasses all of its various forms, including pecan bars. Any excuse to pair crust with a gooey filling and pecans is a win in my book.

This particular version features a caramel-y gooey filling that is pleasantly and lightly sweet. It doesn’t hit you over the head with sweetness, but rather takes a more subtle approach. I also love the presence of honey in the filling. Not only is the flavor wonderful, but it is also a great alternative to the usual corn syrup.

Caramel Pecan Bars | Bake or Break

I was tempted to make these a bit saltier because I do love sweet and salty desserts. But, I decided to keep the salty aspect dialed back so that all the glorious flavors of the crust, filling, and pecans could shine through. These little beauties are so buttery and utterly delicious.

Another plus for these is how simple they are to make. If you have a food processor, it will make super quick work of the crust. If you don’t have one, don’t fret. You can make the crust in a mixing bowl with a pastry blender or a fork. Then, just combine the filling on the stovetop, pour it into the crust, and pop it in the oven.

Caramel Pecan Bars

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 24 2-inch bars

Caramel Pecan Bars

Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the filling:
  • 3 & 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line the bottom and sides of a 9"x13" baking pan with aluminum foil so that the foil overhangs a couple of inches over the sides. Lightly grease foil.

Place flour, butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until the mixture is combined and resembles coarse meal.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Press onto bottom and 3/4 inch up the sides of the pan.

Bake 20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Place pan on a wire rack and allow the crust to cool completely.

To make the filling:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.

Place butter, brown sugar, honey, and cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in pecans.

Transfer filling to crust.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.

Place pan on a wire rack and allow bars to cool completely. Then, use the overhanging foil to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

http://www.bakeorbreak.com/2013/11/caramel-pecan-bars/
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18 Comments

  1. I have never made pecan pie. I don’t know, I guess it just isn’t that big here in Canada. I want to try it though!

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry November 1, 2013 Reply

      Mallory, this is probably a good place to start. These are a bit less sweet than traditional pecan pie. In fact, Quinn says he prefers these bars to pecan pie!

  2. Audra | The Baker Chick November 1, 2013 Reply

    Woah these look delicious. I love pecan pie but since Andy doesn’t eat nuts I never seem to get it. Maybe I’ll make these bars the next time I have to bring treats to book club! :)

  3. Stephanie @ Plain Chicken November 1, 2013 Reply

    These look REALLY good! Pinning for later.

  4. JEP November 1, 2013 Reply

    This sounds super nutty, just the recipe for a nut lover like me!

  5. Tracy | Pale Yellow November 1, 2013 Reply

    These look perfect for Thanksgiving! A little different than a traditional pecan pie, but with all the right flavor notes!

  6. tahnycooks November 2, 2013 Reply

    I’m the only one in my family that loves nuts! THAT WOULD NOT STOP me from making these fabulous looking caramel pecan bars!!

  7. Joanne November 2, 2013 Reply

    I definitely prefer my pecan pie in bar form! It just seems easier and more delicious that way. Not quite sure why.

  8. Christin November 3, 2013 Reply

    These look really good. I also love sweet and salty desserts… so I might be tempted to up the salt :-)

  9. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust November 3, 2013 Reply

    I think pecan bars are my favorite. These look SOOOO good!

  10. I love pecan pie, and these look REALLY good :-)

  11. Dina November 5, 2013 Reply

    the bars look delicious!

  12. Ruth November 10, 2013 Reply

    How long do you think these will last after being baked?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry November 11, 2013 Reply

      Hi, Ruth. I would store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 or 5 days.

  13. Aruna November 12, 2013 Reply

    These look luscious, especially the topping.

    I would like to skip the crust and make these crustless in my non-stick 8 square pan, or glass or corning wear dish. And then I’d like to coat them in chocolate. Would that work?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry November 12, 2013 Reply

      Hi, Aruna! I’m not sure the filling will stand up on its own without a crust. If it doesn’t, you can always serve it as more of a pudding/custard dessert.

  14. TaraO November 30, 2013 Reply

    I made these for Thanksgiving, and they were a big hit! I don’t like all that sugary goop in regular pecan pie, so I chose these because they are goopless. The tasted nut flavor really came through in this delicious recipe. The crust came out perfectly, too.

  15. Jen December 1, 2013 Reply

    My family loved these at thanksgiving and told me I must bring them to every holiday from now on! So delicious! Not too sweet which I loved….I didn’t get much of a caramel feel which I was hoping for. Since it was such a big hit I will definitely be making again. And again. And again!

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