Pecan pies are the ultimate fall-time dessert, but they can be a hassle to make. Why not take a shortcut and make these Pecan Pie Bars whenever you want that intense autumnal flavor instead?
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Pecan Pie Bars
Very few things scream fall and the holiday season more than pecan pie. The only problem is that pies are typically a treat, and a pecan pie might be something you only get to enjoy once a year at Thanksgiving.
But what if you could make something just as festive and satisfying as a pecan pie, but that could also be enjoyed as a snack with a coffee or a sweet treat in the evening? These pecan pie bars do just that!
Pecan pie bars combine the warming nuttiness of a pie with the convenience of a baked bar or a cookie. So, the next time you feel like a pecan pie but don’t feel like indulging in a whole pie, make sure to try this recipe instead!
Can You Use Other Nuts Instead Of Pecans?
Pecan pie is a classic, but this does not mean that you can’t experiment with different nuts or even blends of nuts to create your own twist on an old classic.
Walnuts are often used as a substitute for pecans as they have a lot of the same earthy taste. However, walnuts are not as sweet, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your taste.
For a sweeter overall taste, try using macadamia nuts, which are sweeter and almost buttery. Cashews are also sometimes used as a substitute for pecans as they work well in sweet recipes.
Another option is to blend two or even three different nuts in your pie bars for a complex nutty flavor.
You want to avoid nuts typically used for savory dishes, as these will create more of a savory pie than something that feels like a sweet dessert.
Could You Make A Pie Rather Than Bars?
Pecan pie bars are great for serving at parties or for an evening snack. But, if the crust is your favorite part of a pie, they probably aren’t going to satisfy that desire for a warm, flakey pie.
Rather than missing out on these delicious pie bars, use this recipe to make an actual pie rather than bars. Turning your pie bar into a pie gets you more crust per serving!
Instead of using a 9X13 pan, grab a standard-size pie tin and use that to bake your pecan pie bars. Rather than just putting the crust on the bottom of the tin, add it to the sides as well, just as you would with any other pie.
What To Serve With Pecan Pie Bars
No pie is complete without some kind of topping, whether that be a giant scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.
So, what are the best toppings for these delicious pecan pie bars?
- Ice Cream
Ice cream is an excellent option for adding contrast to each bite. The bars have a very warming mouthfeel, while the ice cream adds a bright coldness.
If you choose to go with ice cream as a bar topping, you can’t go wrong with vanilla; it is a classic for a reason. If you want to use ice cream to add extra depth to your bars, why not try flavors such as maple, caramel, or rum to enhance their sweetness and autumnal feel.
- Whipped Cream
Whipped cream is the classic pie topping and a Thanksgiving tradition in most houses. Cream adds a smooth richness to your pie bars and a suitable sweetness.
You can, of course, buy ready whipped cream or cream in a spray can, but it really is better when you make it yourself. Making your own whipped cream also allows you to adjust flavorings to suit your taste—for example, extra vanilla extract or less sugar.
- Runny Cream
Runny cream packs the same richness as whipped cream, but rather than acting as a noticeable topping; it soaks into the bars for a softer mouthfeel. Runny cream is good if you enjoy that soft, almost spongey texture in desserts.
If you choose to use runny cream, make sure to add it right before eating. This way, the bars soften slightly, but not so much that they turn to mush.
- Maple Glaze
Why not add a maple glaze to your pecan pie bars for the ultimate festive fall vibes? Not only is maple a quintessential autumnal flavor, but it also adds an extra layer of sweetness to the bars without using a dairy-based topping.
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Pecan Pie Bars
- Prep Time
- 15 minutes
- Cook Time
- 50 minutes
- dessert bar
- 24 squares
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- ¾ cup butter (softened)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup pecans (finely chopped)
- ⅔ cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
- 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups dark corn syrup
- 4 Eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1½ cups pecans (coarsely chopped)
- Heat oven to 350°
- Combine 1 3/4 cups flour with the cornstarch and whisk until combined.
- Add the butter and sugar to the flour mixture and beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans.
- In a 9X13 baking pan press the crust mixture into the bottom evenly.
- Bake 18-22 minutes or until edges are very light golden brown.
- In a large bowl add the brown sugar, 6 tablespoons flour and salt and whisk until combined.
- Add in the corn syrup, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans.
- Spread evenly over hot, pre baked crust.
- Bake 30-35 minutes or until filling is set and a knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean.
- Cool completely on the counter then refrigerate 30 minutes. Cut into bars and serve.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.