Gooey, buttery, bars made with a brown sugar shortbread crust and a sticky maple pecan filling. Sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy! With no crust to roll out these bars are even easier than pecan pie!
At every family gathering the same scene always plays out. Dinner is served, everyone eats and socializes, and then dessert is served and everyone is still so full that they decline dessert or ask for the smallest, tiniest piece of dessert. Have you ever tried to cut a teeny piece of pecan pie? It is nearly impossible. The squishy inside, crumbly crust and the nuts that all fuse together and pull from the slices around them make this task difficult – especially if you want to hand someone a clean slice and not a pile of crumbs and nuts. Well, here is the perfect solution. Not only do these maple pecan bars taste even better than pecan pie, but, they cut easily, they travel well, and they are easy to make (no pie crust!).
This recipe is started with a brown sugar shortbread crust that gets pressed into a baking pan. The crust cooks in the oven while the filling is prepared. The maple pecan filling cooks on the stove for a couple of minutes and then gets poured onto the crust and returns to the oven for another 20 minutes. I like to finish these with a sprinkling of salt to balance all the sweetness.
You will not be disappointed with the gooey, crunchy, sweet and buttery textures and flavors going on here. These would make a fantastic addition to any holiday gathering, and they are the perfect way to end a meal on a sweet note, even if it’s only a bite or two.
- 1 stick butter, softened
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, diced
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1½ tablespoons milk
- 1½ cups chopped pecans
- ¼ teaspoon salt, I like flaked sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8 pan with foil, leaving a couple inches overhang. Spray or butter the foil.
- Beat butter and brown sugar for several minutes. Add flour and salt, beat until thoroughly combined. Dump the mixture (it will be crumbly) into the prepared pan and press it evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. When the crust has about 5 minutes left to cook, start the filling.
- In a medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally and simmer for one full minute. Stir in the pecans and pour the filling evenly over the crust (gently spread it around with a rubber spatula so that the nuts and liquid are evenly distributed).
- Return to the oven and cook for an additional 18-20 minutes. The mixture should be bubbling, it will thicken as it cools. Remove from oven and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and cool completely before cutting into squares.