I can still remember the first time that I tried pecan pie. Strangely enough, it was in the airport on the way back to college, waiting to board my flight after Thanksgiving. My mom packed me up a slice of left over pecan pie and as I cracked into my treats and I couldn’t believe what I was trying. The sweet and soft filling was so perfectly paired with the crunchy pecans. My life was changed. I always look forward to pecan pie now every holiday season. The other day, Kevin brought home a slice of a pecan pie bar from the grocery store and we were both so excited to try it. In the end we were so disappointed by it. It just tasted like caramel. There was no gooey center at all. So I set out to try to make a better option. I landed on the crust from one recipe and the filling from another (you may recognize it from my previous pecan pie post). In the end the recipe was a huge success. Thank you again to my wonderful taste testers at school. The only down side was that the pie we ordered for Thanksgiving was declared “ehhhh….not that great….I liked your pecan pie bars better”.
The ingredients needed for the crust are 18 tablespoons of room temperature butter, 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar, 3 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon of course sea salt. The ingredients for the pecan pie filling are 6 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of packed brown sugar, 3/4 cup of golden syrup, a pinch of course sea salt, 2 cups of toasted pecan halves, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon bourbon, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 3 large eggs.
Before making the crust, I lined my 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper and used binder clips to hold it in place. I also preheated my oven to 350 F degrees and toasted the pecan for 10 minutes on a baking sheet until they were fragrant. Next, I put the room temperature butter and brown sugar in the bowl of my stand mixer and used my paddle attachment to mix them for 5 minutes, until they were light and fluffy. I added in the flour and salt and mixed them until they were combined. I dumped the dough out in the prepared pan and used my hands to press the dough out as evenly as possible in the pan. Finally, I baked it for 18 minutes and pulled it out of the oven once the crust was golden brown. While the crust was in the oven, I worked on the pecan pie filling.
To make the filling, I placed the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and pinch of salt into a medium sauce pan and placed it over medium heat. Once everything was melted, I cooked the mixture for 2 minutes. Then, I pulled the pan off the heat and mixed in the apple cider vinegar, the bourbon and the vanilla. I poured the mixture into another bowl to allow it to cool down a little bit faster. I used my whisk to mix the mixture every minute for 10 minutes to allow it to cool down slightly. Next, I mixed in 3 eggs and made sure to quickly whisk in the mixture to help keep the eggs from cooking. Finally, I mixed in the pecans and poured the mixture over the hot crust after it came out of the oven.
I baked the filling for 20 minutes and checked the bars looking for the edges to be set and the filling to be puffed slightly across the whole pan. I realized that they needed about 5 more minutes to bake. After they were fully baked, I pulled the bars from the oven and let them cool on a cooling rack in the pan for 30 minutes.
I used my parchment paper to lift the pecan pie bars out of the pan and placed them on a cutting board to slice them with a sharp knife. I did about half the pan in the large squares seen in the next picture and about half the pan in smaller skinny slices. The smaller slices were great for a quick treat to eat and the larger squares took longer to enjoy. The reviews on these bars were amazingly positive. This filling is so delicious and well balanced from the cider vinegar, vanilla, and bourbon and the golden syrup is an wonderful ingredient that I love adding to so many things now. I think these bars are a great dessert to make as we transition from fall to winter and I hope you make them for your next gathering or get together.
Recipe: Pecan Pie Bars
- 18 tablespoons room temperature butter (254 grams)
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (160 grams)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (360 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon course sea salt (2 grams)
- 6 tablespoons butter (85 grams)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (213 grams)
- 3/4 cup golden syrup (234 grams)
- 1 pinch course sea salt
- 2 cups pecan halves (225 grams)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper that is secured with binder clips. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.
- Spread pecans out on a rimmed baking pan and bake for 10 minutes until they were fragrant, then set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer mix together the 18 tablespoons of room temperature butter and 3/4 cups of brown sugar for 5 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined.
- Turn the dough out into the prepared pan and use your hands to push the crust into an even layer all the way into the corners of the pan. Bake for 18 minutes until golden brown.
- While the crust bakes, make the filling. Place the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and a pinch of salt in a medium sauce pan oven medium heat. Once it is all melted, cook for 2 minutes. Pull the pan off the heat and add the apple cider vinegar, bourbon and vanilla. Pour the mixture into another bowl and let it cool off slightly for 10 minutes.
- Once the mixture is slightly cooled, whisk in the eggs and once combined, add the pecans and pour the mixture over the hot crust once it is out of the oven.
- Bake the pecan pie bars for 20 minutes and check to see if they have puffed evenly across the whole pan and the corners have set. If not continue to bake for a few more minutes.
- Cool the bars in the pan on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes. Use the parchment paper to pull the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Slice into your desired size.