There are times when my sweet tooth gets too big for its britches. Like, instead of just hankering for something sweet, it gets picky and wants something sweet…and chewy…and gooey…and maybe with a little bit of texture. See what I mean? Way too big for its britches. That happened just this last weekend but lucky for me, I have a recipe for the absolute best chewy pecan shortbread bars and it was just what I needed to quiet my demanding sweet tooth.
Growing up, my mom always favored pecan pie for Thanksgiving dessert. I turned my nose up at it in favor of pumpkin. To this day, I’m not sure that I’ve ever even tried a slice of pecan pie, though the pumpin pecan cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory made me a believer in all things pecan. I kid you not when I confess that I’d much rather indulge in a one of these scrumptious squares than a slice of that cheesecake.
When I tell you that indeed these are the best chewy pecan shortbread bars you will ever eat, I mean it. From the pecan dusted, crumbly shortbread cookie crust to the toasted pecan top, these bar cookies will make you a believer, too.
If you, like my sweet tooth, are stubborn and you need another reason to believe that these truly are the best chewy pecan shortbread cookies to have ever found their way to a plate, would it help if I told you that they’re probably easier to bake than they look? A food processor makes the cookie crust an absolute cinch to whip up and the filling doesn’t require any stovetop cooking. It took me about twenty minutes to get these oven-ready.
Because they’re reminiscent of Thanksgiving, these would be a perfect fall dessert. And since they’re portable, they’re also great for bake sales or meal train desserts. No matter how you choose to enjoy them, I highly recommend you try this recipe. STAT.
For the crust:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
For the filling:
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 3/4 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
For the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350º.
- Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and then spray it with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and pecans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. With the lid in place, pulse mixture for five one-second bursts. The mixture should be the consistency of cornmeal. Remove the lid and add chilled butter cubes to the mixture. Return lid and pulse for an additional eight one-second bursts. The mixture should be fine, like sand. Pour the crumb mixture into the bottom of prepared baking pan and use your hand to firmly press it into an even layer. Bake for twenty minutes until the crust is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed.
For the filling:
- Meanwhile, combine melted butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and bourbon in a large mixing bowl. Whisk just until combined. Add the previously slightly-beaten egg and whisk together with the sugar mixture just until incorporated.
- Pour filling over hot crust. Sprinkle toasted pecans over the filling mixture and press lightly into the filling mixture.
- Return pan to oven and bake for about twenty-five minutes. The bars are done when the top is lightly browned and cracks just begin to form on the surface.
- Cool on wire rack for an hour and then slice into sixteen squares.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261
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