Modi”pie” your normal Thanksgiving desserts spread by trying these Chocolate Drizzled Pecan Pie Bars. You will seriously die and go to heaven after taking a bite of these!
Aren’t I clever? I said modi”pie” in the description. Sometimes I just can’t get enough of myself (-C).
Ok, Tammy here now. Enough cheese already. Just been a long weekend I guess. Anyway, got a question for ya. How do you pronounce this word: PECAN?
If spoken like a true Southerner, you know the correct response : PEE-CAAN (with a little southern drawl, emphasis on the whole word, not necessarily a particular syllable). That’s how the hubs says it, and it’s rubbed off on me. Because when you have such a wonderfully delicious nut, you shouldn’t be underestimating it in pronunciation (compare this to the more boring puh-cahn version that I grew up hearing and saying.)
I’m sharing with you a very special treat today. Because it’s almost time to start getting your pie on! And oh, there will be pie on this blog coming in the next couple of weeks. Lots and lots of pie. And tips, and tricks, and modifications. Because WE LOVE PIE!
So we thought we’d do a little teaser today before getting into things full force with this fantastically amazing variation of the ever-popular pecan pie. And that would be PECAN PIE BARS.
Yes, in bar form, I say. They come together so beautifully, you can pick them up and eat them like a cookie……and then I had to go and drizzle chocolate on top. Seriously, does it get any better than this?
In case you were wondering, the answer is no. No, it does not. I mean, start out with a shortbready pie crust, layer on some delicious honey caramel filling combined with beautiful (and tasty) pecan halves. Need I say more? Oh, yes, as mentioned above, the chocolate. Yes, that’s the more, and it’s fabulous!
Here are a few quick tips to make these bars turn out fabulous!
1) Don’t overmix the crust. You are making a shortbread cookie crust. You want the initial crust when you mix the butter in to have about pea-sized crumbs. This keeps it flaky. On the same note, you don’t want the crust to completely fall apart on you when you cut and eat the bars. The egg acts as a good glue here to help hold everything together. And when you press the crust into the pan, you still want to press pretty firmly (but not too firm). Think of it in terms of graham cracker crust. Enough to stick together, but not pressed so firmly that you are having to use a hacksaw to cut through it (well that might be a little overdramatic, but you get the point).
2) Slightly press crust up the sides to hold in the filling. Creating just a nice little rim around the crust edge helps hold the caramely goodness in where it should be. While a little caramel seeping down the sides won’t hurt anything, it will definitely cook more and be a lot chewier (and I guess in extreme cases, could theoretically be harder to remove from the pan if it spilled over too much, although we’ve never had this problem). We still like to trim the edges anyway, so don’t stress it too much.
2) Make sure bars have completely cooled when you get them out. This will ensure that they stay in one beautiful piece that will be great for perfect cuts. Taking it out to early could cause some cracking in the bottom crust. The easiest way to get the bars out is to use a second hard surface, like a cookie sheet. Hold it up right up against your 9×13 pan. Then flip quickly. They should come right out in a big rectangular block (upside-down). Turn again onto another solid surface (nice to use a cutting board at this time so you can just simply go from there for cutting).
3) For perfect cuts, use a pastry scraper/chopper and a ruler. Since you are cutting through pecan halves, you want something with a nice straight edge like a pastry scraper that you can just push down firmly to get that perfect, clean line. If you don’t have one, a big sharp chef’s knife can do the trick, too, although you may have to rock it a little. And if you want to be totally OCD and have each the exact same size for each bar, a simple wooden ruler can assist with this. We like square style, or it’s kind of fun to do little rectangular strips as well if you are serving smaller portions.
3) Get creative with the chocolate drizzle! Seriously, this is hard to mess up. It can seem intimidating upon first thought though. This is like your finishing touch, and you’re thinking “man, I’m no decorator.” This is so free form though. Key is to use a small tip and have your chocolate melted well. In a really tight pinch, you can just drizzle chocolate over with a fork, but an easier way we’ve found is to simply get a Ziploc sandwich bag, fold the edges out (so you don’t get a mess all over), pour in the melted chocolate, flip edges back and seal, then when you are ready, cut a very small hole in the tip with some kitchen shears. The chocolate will start flowing immediately, so just work quickly in a back and forth motion to create your lines. Definitely recommend doing this over parchment or waxed paper so you don’t have to worry about keeping everything on the bar (see our pics – we go wild! Well about as wild as it gets in the kitchen, eh). If you have the tools, a pastry decorating bag and small tip, or a squeeze bottle (such as one for condiments) are also great for chocolate streaking.
You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to try these out. Seriously, find an excuse. Tell everyone you are “practicing” for the main event and you need a trial run. Or maybe two, or three. Just to make them perfect, ya know.
Our favorite tools we like to use for these bars:
Chocolate Drizzled Pecan Pie Bars
For the Crust:
- 2 cups and 1/4 all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cups and 1/4 unsalted butter 2 sticks + 4 tablespoons
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Filling:
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cups and 1/2 light brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 pound pecan halves approximately 4 and 1/2 cups
- 1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
For the Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9x13 inch cooking pan with cooking spray.
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
Dice butter into half inch cubes and combine with flour mixture in food processor, or by hand/pastry blender until the butter is flaked to the size of peas or slightly smaller.
Whisk together egg and vanilla and pulse/mix into flour mixture until combined.
Press dough into bottom of pan, making a higher edge around the outside (this is to help hold the filling).
Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned.
Allow to cool.
For the Filling:
In a 2 quart sauce pan, combine butter, honey, and brown sugar.
Using a wooden spoon to stir, cook over medium-low heat until combined.
Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in cream and pecans.
Pour mixture over the crust, aiming for the center of the pan, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the edge of the pan.Spread pecans out evenly.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the filling is set.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. (Refrigerate if desired to speed up the cooling process, but don't leave too long or they may be difficult to cut.)
Flip bars upside-down onto solid surface, and then flip again so they are right-side up, ready to cut. (We like to have flat surfaces like a cookie sheet/cutting board, so you can kind of sandwich the bars in-between for a quick and foolproof flip.)
Using a pastry scraper/chopper or sharp blade, dice into 20 bars.
!If Decorating with the Chocolate Drizzle:
Place chopped bars onto parchment or waxed paper, with a little space in between each one.
Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave (if microwave, follow directions on bag, or go 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring intermittently, until melted).
Pour melted chocolate into pastry bag with tip or dispenser (or use a Ziploc sandwich bag and cut off a very small corner tip).
Drizzle back and forth over bars.
Let chocolate set and then enjoy!
Want more pecans?
Want more pie?