If you want to make something that’s easier than pie, then these pecan pie bars are the answer! They’re just like their namesake but without the work of rolling out a crust. Instead, the layers of filling and pecans are made right in a baking sheet. It’s super easy and delicious!
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 work the butter into the flour. Smash pieces of butter between your thumb and forefingers until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal and holds together when squeezed into a fist.
Spray a 9x13 or quarter sheet pan with nonstick baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spread the crust mixture evenly in the prepared pan and press down, making a crust. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a bowl, whisk the eggs to break up. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, flour, melted butter, salt, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Then fold in the chopped pecans.
4 large eggs, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 ½ cups maple syrup, 1 tbsp all-purpose flour, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter, 2 ½ cups chopped pecans, ½ tsp salt
When the crust is finished, remove it from the oven. Pour the prepared filling over the warm crust. 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 the oven and cool for 2 hours before slicing.
When preparing the crust, make sure that the butter is cold. This will make it easier to work together with the flour mixture and ensure that the crust is flaky once baked.
The dough should be somewhat drier than a regular pie crust. When making a fist with a handful of the dough, it should stick together but then be crumbled apart easily.
Since these bars can be sticky, it’s best to line your baking dish with parchment. This will allow for easy removal once the bars are baked, as well as easy cleanup.
Once the bars have been baked, let them cool completely before slicing. If they are cut when still warm, the filling could spill out. Make sure to slice the edges where the parchment paper does not cover so the bars can be removed easily from the pan.