pecan pie barsDo you recall eating your first pecan pie?  I sure do!  I was a young kid traveling with my siblings and parents en route to see my grandparents in Florida (an annual winter vacation pilgrimage).  The trip down wasn’t idyllic with 4 kids in the back of a station wagon along with two and a half, non-stop days of driving (well, we did stop for food and to sleep).  Mom would pack lunches for us to last the length of the trip. To this day I cannot stomach a ham salad sandwich. My dad had his checkpoints sorted along the way and was always trying to see if he could ‘better’ the route and shave time off.  He was a driving machine when he got behind the wheel!  But no matter what, we usually made a pit stop in Georgia.

Four things I remember about the state of Georgia; their amazing smoked ham, flipping unbelievably delicious pecan pies (homemade), Spanish moss, and the next state was Florida!  Pecan pie, usually purchased from roadside truck stops, was always on the menu.  It was a slice of heaven handed to me – an oozing caramel-tasting filling with crunchy pecans.  What a treat after being cramped up in a car!

Pecans are native to North America and started showing up cookbooks in the 1870s and 1880s. There was a surge in popularity in the mid-1920s when the manufacturer of Karo corn syrup began printing a recipe for pecan pie on their cans.  The majority of pecan pie recipes published today are still based on the traditional Karo syrup recipe.

For the Crust

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pecan Topping

½ cup butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup (can also use honey)
2 tablespoons milk or cream
2 eggs
2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350f (180c) and line bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the flour and salt and mix until crumbly. Press the crust into the pan and bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling by combining the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cream, and eggs in a mixing bowl.  Use a whisk to combine.  Add pecans and chocolate; mix. Remove the crust from the oven and immediately pour the pecan filling over the hot crust spreading it to cover the entire surface.

Return pan to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes or until the center is set but not firm. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.  Serve sliced bars with a sprinkling of sea salt.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Bars will keep (covered) at room temperature for a couple of days.  Enjoy!

 

pecan pie bars with semi-sweet chocolate
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • For the Crust:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pecan Topping:
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup (can also use honey)
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350f (180c) and line bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Using a mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the flour and salt and mix until crumbly. Press the crust into the pan and bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden.
  3. While the crust bakes, prepare the filling by combining the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cream, and egg in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to combine. Add pecans and chocolate; mix. Remove the crust from the oven and immediately pour the pecan filling over the hot crust spreading it to cover the entire surface.