Pecan Bars are a wonderful alternative to Pecan Pie this Thanksgiving. You’ll find they are easier to make and just as delicious! They also make a great food gift idea for the holidays as well!
Can Pecan Bars be made without Corn Syrup?
Yes! This is why I love this recipe so much! There’s no need for corn syrup, you’ll use a combination of butter, brown sugar and honey instead.
Best of all you’ll get the same kind of sticky, candy-like topping the corn syrup provides.
Watch My Video Demo On This Recipe Below!
You’ll first begin by creating the shortbread crust.
It’s a much simpler dough to deal with than pie dough because you just press it into the tin (no need to refrigerate it first or roll it or shape it like pie dough!)
I also like to add orange zest to the shortbread crust because it provides an unexpected freshness against the sweetness of the pecans.
Speaking of sticky pecans, to help you release them easily, I highly recommend a removable bottom brownie tin (this link goes to Amazon where I am compensated on products sold at no cost to the consumer)
It allows you to just push them out after they are baked and get nice clean edges that are then easily sliced into bars for serving.
This recipe bakes twice. You’ll bake your shortbread crust first, allowing it to set and become golden brown.
Then you’ll pour the gooey pecan bars filling on top and bake again.
Do pecan bars need to be refrigerated?
I say yes! Once the bars have baked and fully cooled place them in their tin, uncovered, in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours but really overnight is even better.
This will allow them to fully set and be easily cut into nice clean slices.
Can you freeze pecan bars?
Sure! Make them a week ahead of Thanksgiving. Cut them into bars, then place in a freezer-safe container lined with wax paper, separating each layer with more wax paper. Place the lid on your container and freeze.
The day before thanksgiving thaw the pecan bars in your refrigerator. Remove the bars from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving to come to room temperature.
More Thanksgiving dessert ideas!
- Foolproof Apple Pie
- Pumpkin Pie with Marshmallow Topping!
- Extra Moist Pumpkin Bread
- Pear Almond Tart
- No-Bake Pumpkin Mousse
PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU MAKE THIS PECAN BARS RECIPE BY LEAVING A RATING AND REVIEW BELOW!
For the Crust:
- 1 ½ cups (360 g) of butter
- 1 cup (200g) white sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
- ½ tsp (2.5ml) salt
- 4 tsp (20 ml) orange zest
- 3 1/3 (400g) cups of all-purpose flour
For the topping:
- ½ cup (120 g) of butter
- 1 cup (180g) light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) heavy cream
- ½ tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups (525 g) of raw pecan halves
Preheat Oven to 350F (176C)
To create the crust beat together the sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Once fluffy add the egg, and vanilla and beat to combine. Then add the salt and orange zest beat to combine, then add the flour in thirds, beating after each addition.
Turn dough out and fit it into a 10 x 10 pan that has been sprayed with baking spray. Preferably a removable bottom pan, otherwise line a 10 x 10 brownie pan with parchment paper or foil (2 sheets going opposite directions) this will make it easier to remove the bars once they are done.
Bake crust for 25-30 minutes or until fully set and golden brown.
Meanwhile prepare the pecan bar filling.
In a large sauce pot combine butter, brown sugar, honey and salt. Set over medium heat, whisking while the mixture melts and combines. Remove from the heat. Whisk in heavy cream and vanilla.
In a large bowl place the pecan halves, pour filling mixture over pecans and toss to combine so that all the nuts are well-coated.
Once crust has baked and is slightly cooled. Pour the pecan mixture on top, spreading it out with a spatula to form an even layer, making sure all corners of the crust are covered with the pecans.
Place back in oven, placing a baking sheet lined with foil, under the pan to catch any drippings.
Bake for 25 minutes, until filling is set. It will still look a little wet, but that’s OK it will set up as it cools.
Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Then place uncovered in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight is even better to fully set. They will be easier to cut if you allow to stay refrigerated overnight.
Remove from pan, slice the pecan bars into 9 squares, and then cut each square in half to create a bar. Keep the pecan bars in the fridge until ready to serve. Lightly covered.
30 minutes before serving bring the bars to room temperature. Place on a cake stand and serve! Enjoy!
These bars are sticky! For easy release, I highly recommend a removable bottom brownie tin (this link goes to Amazon where I am compensated on products sold at no cost to the consumer)
You can definitely make these a week ahead of Thanksgiving. Cut them into bars, then place in a freezer-safe container lined with wax paper, separating each layer with more wax paper. Place the lid on your container and freeze. Then thaw out in the fridge the night before thanksgiving!