Salted Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars
It's time to bake some rich and gooey holiday dessert for Thanksgiving and Christmas! I love these chocolate bourbon pecan bars featuring bittersweet chocolate, a touch of maple syrup, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a shortbread crust.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 24 bars
- 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (1 oz) confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 tsp table salt, or 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 8 tbsp (4 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
Pecan Pie Filling
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz) chopped pecans
- 4 tbsp (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (2 3/4 oz) light corn syrup
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp bourbon, or light rum
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup (4 oz) bittersweet chocolate chips, or chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1-2 pinches flaked sea salt, optional
- 1/2 cup (3 oz) bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x9 baking pan with either parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving some overhanging the sides to use as a sling. Grease the pan and the foil well.
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Using either a food processor or your fingers work the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is completely worked in, you have no dry flour, and the mixture clumps easily.
Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and press it firmly into an even layer on the bottom. (I use the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup.) Bake the crust for 20 minutes, or until light brown.
Pecan Pie Filling
Spread out the pecans on a baking sheet. Slip the baking sheet into the oven while the crust is baking and toast the pecans for 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Once it is smooth and well mixed, add the egg and whisk that in. Set the filling aside until the crust is baked.
When the crust is done, scatter the chocolate chips over the hot crust. Then pour the filling over, giving it a shake if needed to even it out. Top with the toasted pecans and press them in a bit with the side of a spatula.
Bake the pecan bars for 22-25 minutes, until the top is browned, the edges are bubbling, and it still jiggles when you shake it. Transfer the pecan bars to a cooling rack and let them cool in the pan for 1 hour. While they are cooling, sprinkle the bars with a pinch or two of flaked sea salt.
After an hour, loosen the bars from the sides of the pan as needed and pull them out using the handles on the liner. Let the bars finish cooling on the rack to room temperature.
Put a medium pot on the stove and fill with an inch or two of water. Bring the water to just below a simmer (steaming but not bubbling). Take a heatproof glass bowl which fits over the pot and fill it with the chocolate chips and butter. Once the chocolate is nearly melted, take it off the heat, put it on a kitchen towel, and stir with a spatula until the chocolate is smooth.
Drizzle with the chocolate drizzle and cut it into 24 bars (6x4 grid). If you are concerned about the bars cutting neatly, put the pecan bars into the refrigerator and chill them completely before cutting. Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
- Filling inspired by the pecan bars in Cook's Illustrated Baking Book.
- Measuring flour: When measuring dry ingredients, especially flour, I measure by weight using my Salter kitchen scale. If I don't have my scale, I use the scoop and sweep method where I dip the measuring cups in the flour, scoop up some, and sweep off the excess.
- Corn syrup: No corn syrup? You can use agave nectar, Lyle's golden syrup, or cane syrup. Or go for all maple syrup - though note that maple syrup has a strong flavor which you may or may not like in larger quantities.
- Bourbon: My husband believes the bars need more bourbon, while I think it has enough and I would hesitate to add more to the filling since that may throw off the balance. Instead, a great idea would be to make some Bourbon Whipped Cream to serve with the bars.
- Lining the Baking Pan: I prefer foil here since I want a liner which conforms to the shape of the baking pan. Just don't cut it on the foil. Move the bars to a cutting board and slip them off the foil first. If you are worried about the bars sticking, switch to parchment.
- Chocolate Drizzle: I used my Kuhn Rikon Decorating Kit to drizzle the bars. You can also use the end of a spoon.