I create new Thanksgiving recipes every year. Some are far different from anything that would be considered traditional and some are simply variations on the usual. And growing up with my Mom and Grandma, I know better than anyone: you cannot mess with Thanksgiving traditions. That being said, certain items can be updated (or refreshed as I like to call it – it has such a better ring, right?) and others should always stay the same. For my family, that leeway to experiment includes pecan pie. With that in mind, pecan pie bars seemed like a perfectly modern twist on the classic.
Yes, I know the jury’s still out on pie and which one to serve: pumpkin or pecan. (I’ve made both: pecan here and pumpkin here.) No matter the type of pie, it’s not truly Thanksgiving until you’ve stuffed your stomach so full that you can’t possibly consider eating anything else. So… you choose to have a piece of
Everyone has their own recipe for pecan pie. Some use whole halves of pecans, some add bourbon and most people are scared of a crucial pecan pie ingredient: corn syrup. In the past several years, there have been a plethora of articles focused on the harms of high fructose corn syrup.
All about corn syrup
When it comes to corn syrup, there are two comparisons I want to make:
- Granulated white sugar is half fructose and half glucose.
- High fructose corn syrup has extra fructose, which your body handles differently than glucose and easily converts to fat. High amounts of fructose has a host of bad effects on your body.
This is an annoying amount of science, but what’s important is to be aware that the corn syrup used in recipes is not high fructose. Corn syrup is 100% glucose. It’s still sugar, which should always be eaten in moderation, but also enjoyed on special occasions
Moral of the story: this totally means you don’t need to be worried about making these pecan pie bars!
Pecan pie bars are a great way to enjoy pecan pie. I love them for three main reasons
- They’re quicker to make than pie.
- They serve more people than pie.
- They have less crust and filling than pie so really there is no guilt.
To make these more of a Thanksgiving treat, I added a layer of chocolate under the filling. Once baked and cooled, the filling is still gooey and soft and the chocolate really shines through.
I use chopped pecans in these: this way you won’t have to worry about whole pecans surfacing to the top of the mixture and creating an uneven-looking pattern. The chopped variety is uniform, so cutting the bars is extremely easy as well.
As a bonus, these bars are perfect for freezing. If you make a double batch and there are a few left over, throw them in the freezer for later. Your post-Thanksgiving self will be uber-thankful!
Whether you’re serving your entire extended family or just those to whom you’re closest, no one will miss that traditional pecan pie with these on hand!
Watch how to make these pecan pie bars:
Pecan Pie Bars
For the crust
- 3 cups flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 14 tbsp butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
For the filling
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups white corn syrup
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups chopped pecans
- 1 ⅓ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- To prepare the crust, in a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix to combine.
- Add the pieces of butter. Coat the pieces with flour and cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter. Cut until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal and holds together when squeezed in a fist.
- Spray a 15 ½ x 10 ½ jelly roll pan with nonstick baking spray.
- Spread the crust mixture evenly in the prepared pan and press down, making a crust. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 20 minutes. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs to break up. Add the sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Fold in the chopped pecans.
- When the crust is finished, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes until melted. Spread the chocolate on the crust.
- Pour the prepared filling over the top and smooth to the edges.
- Return to the oven and bake until the filling is set around the edges and jiggles slightly in the middle, 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool two hours before cutting.