Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars

So much easier than baking an entire pie! These brown butter pecan pie bars are made with maple syrup and brown sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

In partnership with my friends at Diamond of California, of course.

Welcome to pie week recipe #3! Though these aren’t shaped like your typical pie, they’re every bit as mouthwatering in square form. Especially when that square combines not only pecan pie + crust, but brown butter, quality nuts, pure maple syrup for extra flavor, and a sprinkle of sea salt on top.

So much easier than baking an entire pie! These brown butter pecan pie bars are made with maple syrup and brown sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

It’s confirmed: diets do not stand a chance. Also, diets do not belong in pie!

While I don’t usually like to stray from the classic, unadulterated pecan pie– I do believe there is room for both traditional pecan pie (here’s my favorite pecan pie recipe!) and jazzy pecan pie. Who doesn’t want a little jazzy every now and then??

Let’s start with the crust– the brown butter crust. Like a toasted nut crust, brown butter brings a whole new level of flavor to the bars as a whole.  It’s the same crust as my salted caramel apple pie bars, only doubled to make a larger batch and– of course– made with brown butter. All you’ll do is brown some butter on the stovetop, then mix it with sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour. The basic round-up of ingredients. Press it into the pan and pre-bake for a few minutes while you make the pecan pie topping.

Brown butter crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Brown butter crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Check out all those flavorful brown butter specks. ↑

Ingredients for brown butter pecan pie bars on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make brown butter pecan pie bars on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Easy stuff in the filling including butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cream, and eggs. Diet bars, remember? You know the drill– brown butter for best flavor. I chose to make these pecan pie bars without corn syrup and formulate a way to have maple syrup get the job done. It works like a charm here. You’ll boil butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and cream together into a syrup– then temper the eggs. Now before you go running at the term “tempering” let’s chat about it for a second.

Tempering means you’ll add a hot liquid to the beaten eggs. If you add the eggs directly to the pot of boiling ingredients– guess what? You’ll have some funky scrambled egg sauce. By slowly whisking *some* of the hot syrup into the beaten eggs, you are  slowly bringing up their temperature– not shocking them. And then you’ll slowly drizzle and whisk that warm egg mixture into the pot. This way you’re avoiding that funky scrambled egg situation that sounds, and probably is, horrifying.

Stir in the pecans– and make sure they’re high quality like our favorites by Diamond of California. Then spread the topping onto the crust. Don’t be alarmed if the pecan topping is too syrup-y. It will cook just fine!

(Speaking of California, Kevin and I are in Napa right now! I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.)

So much easier than baking an entire pie! These brown butter pecan pie bars are made with maple syrup and brown sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Is there a brown butter pecan pie scented candle somewhere? Perhaps with a hint of maple? Because I want to smell these pecan pie bars baking all day long. I’m excited for you to experience it.

The flavors marry together wonderfully between the brown butter, maple, toasty pecans, and brown sugar. I’m not a fan of cloyingly sweet pecan pie, so I added a sprinkle of sea salt on top of the baked bars. They’re crunchy in some places, soft in others. Moist with big chunks of delicious pecans on a bed of brown butter. It most certainly doesn’t get better than this.

So much easier than baking an entire pie! These brown butter pecan pie bars are made with maple syrup and brown sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Much easier than an entire pie!

Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars

Ingredients:

Brown Butter Crust

  • 1 cup (230g; 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

Pecan Pie Topping

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark here)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups (300g) coarsely chopped Diamond of California shelled pecans
  • optional: sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9x13 inch pan or line with parchment paper leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out. Set aside.
  2. For the crust: Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning-- you'll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. Once browned, remove from heat immediately and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, stir the brown butter, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together in a medium bowl. Stir in the flour until evenly combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. For the topping: Combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine the ingredients and dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 3 minutes. As it is boiling, carefully spoon 1/2 cup of the mixture into a glass measuring cup. Slowly drizzle and stir hot mixture into the eggs. Stir frequently to keep it moving so the eggs do not scramble. Once all of the mixture is added to the beaten eggs, slowly drizzle and whisk this back into the pot. The trick is to always be stirring/whisking to avoid scrambling the eggs. Remove from heat, stir in the pecans, and pour evenly over the crust.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out *mostly* clean. If the top is getting too brown as it bakes, loosely cover with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven, set on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Cover and store leftover bars at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Make ahead tip: Bars freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature before serving.

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SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

The Cutest Mixing Bowl Set! | Glass Baking Dish | Stainless Steel 3-qt Saucepan | Wooden Spoon | Anthropologie Plates

This recipe is sponsored by Diamond of California. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pays me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

So much easier than baking an entire pie! These brown butter pecan pie bars are made with maple syrup and brown sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

78 comments

  1. These bars look like the perfect fall indulgence. Have fun in Napa Valley! Hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy the great food in the area! And of course, all the wine and cheese =) Can’t wait to see what you’ve tried.

  2. Is it weird that I would rather have these bars than an actual pecan pie? Haha! If there’s a brown butter candle, I’ll definitely send it to you! 😉

  3. Oh yes! This is totally something I’ve gotta try this season!

  4. H you reminded me how much I love baking with pecans!  Yes to these bars and finding a brown butter pecan pie candle!  Have fun in Napa, can’t wait to hear about your trip!

  5. Oh my goodness, a brown butter crust?! I’m a sucker for brown butter, as you can probably tell from the name of my blog 😉 We make bars similar to this at the bakery I work at, but not with a brown butter crust! I think that pushes these over the edge into perfection. Excited to try these! Hope you have a good time in Napa!

  6. THANK YOU, THANK YOU– for taking out the corn syrup and replacing it with maple syrup!! Corn syrup is so bad for us, but maple syrup (if pure, 100%), is actually a healthy sweetner! So, I will for sure put this on my Thanksgiving table now! I really can’t wait to try it!!
    Oh, and if you get a chance in Napa, go by the Reverie Winery. A little off the beaten path, but worth it! Napa is gorgeous in the Fall!!!

  7. I’ve actually never had pecan pie because most of my family has found it too hard to make – corn syrup, lots of pot-watching – and no one wants to try store bought either. But a recipe without corn syrup in it is one I can behind! These don’t look too difficult, and pecan pie is such a winter recipe. Might give them a try before Christmas – holiday baking calls for way too many cookies, brownies, and bars galore.
    P.S I love that your pie week isn’t really all about just the traditional pastry pie baking in a round plate; tarts and pie bars are fun too 🙂

  8. Your pictures just get better and better every blogpost! My mouth is seriously watering over your beautiful pictures! Yum!!

  9. I want to make these, but need to adapt the crust to gluten free.  Do you think just a regular GF flour blend would do the trick?  I know you have lots of great gluten free recipes – thank you!
    Enjoy Napa!

  10. Sally, you are killing me. I now have 4 “pies” I need/want to make for Thanksgiving, and I’m sure that number will grow as Pie Week continues. These seriously look fabulous…and I am still dreaming about the Nutella pie you posted yesterday!

    • It’s a tough decision!! I’m having 2 thanksgiving celebrations just so I can make more pie. And, of course, see more friends and family. Ha!

  11. If you are in Napa the city, and not just the “Napa Valley” in general, you might want to visit the Buttercream Bakery on the corner of Jefferson and Lincoln. This place always smells like my childhood and the only thing that has changed is that they no longer put the smaller items in a waxed paper envelope with their slogan on it : “It’s the Butter That Makes it Better”. So true, but maybe people don’t want to be reminded of the butter anymore! They also have a small restaurant space with breakfast/lunch. There are newer, fancier bakeries in Napa now, but this one was there back in the day when there were only a handful of wineries and Napa was just a sleepy little town where everything closed at 5:00 pm! Hope you enjoy your visit.

  12. I’ve been looking forward to your pie recipes all week! Love them! Could this recipe easily be cut in half for an 8×8 pan? Thanks!

  13. Hey – I live in Napa! Eager to hear about your travels here. I agree with the Buttercream Bakery suggestion. Sweetie Pies is also pretty good – also in downtown Napa (which is mostly under construction). 

    I am a huge fan of pie so am thoroughly enjoying pie week!

  14. Hi Sally,
    Love your creations!

  15. Hi Sally!

    I’ll be trying this recipe very soon!! Try Ad Hoc while you’re in Napa! Best fried chicken and waffles!!! 🙂 Enjoy your trip! 

  16. BROWN BUTTER pecan pie bars!!!!!!!! Pinning for future holiday needs! <3

  17. Already made your Sweet Potato Pie and this one, as well!! I’m extremely happy with the results. The Pecan Pie Bars’ crust is so buttery and the filling is out of this world. Can’t wait for the last two Pies! 

  18. I think its time to officially yield to the 5-lb weight gain that always comes this time of year!  These bars would be worth pulling out my fat jeans for!

  19. Your blog is beautiful and  your motivational  messages are always on time. 

    Thank you

  20. This reminds me of a walnut/baklava bar I always make during the holiday season. It is a sugar cookie base, with walnuts and brown sugar. I just may need to change things up this year and try this pecan bar/pie. Looks delicious! Thank you for all the wonderful recipes this week Sally!

  21. Uggggggh I can not wait to make these. I know they’ll be amazing because your Apple Bars are to die for. So many choices here, Sally. It’s going to be tough to narrow down for Thanksgiving…Luckily we have 3 dinners! I hope you guys had a great time in Cali. Thanks from Portland, Sally!!

    • Portland, one of my favorite places! I was just saying that to Kevin– I’m glad we have a couple Thanksgiving celebrations because I have so much I want to make!

  22. What if I wanted to make the crust chocolate? Can I add a tablespoon or two of unsweetened cocoa powder along with some milk? Am I on the right track?

  23. I made these today for Sunday dessert and they were soooooooooooooo good! I’m currently trying not to eat the entire batch before bed!!!!!

  24. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year and I love the idea of making these instead of a pie (so intimidating)! Can I make these a couple days ahead of time?

    I’m also going to do a small sundae bar and make your salted caramel sauce. Can’t wait!

    • A sundae bar! Can I come over for that? HA!

      you can make these bars a couple days in advance. Just cover tightly. Store in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.

      • I’m happy to report I made these bars and they were a hit! I also crumbled a few of the bars and put the crumbles into a ramekin for guests to sprinkle on their sundaes. The favorite dessert by FAR was ice cream + this crumble + your salted caramel drizzle!!!

  25. Just made these and they were amazing! It was my first time ever baking with pecans and I am converted! I cut the recipe in half and baked in an 8×8 inch square tin – the recipe was perfect! 🙂

  26. Can honey be used as a substitute for maple syrup? If so, would it be the same 1:1 ratio measurement and will the consistency of the bars be similar as if I had used maple syrup?

    Thank you! I can’t wait to try these out.

  27. Hi from the UK! Just want to let you know, I think you are a fantastic baker! I have tried so many of your recipes and they have all worked perfectly! It’s such a joy to see what you will create next. Thank you for all your hard work!

    • Thank you so much, Charlotte! I appreciate your kind words and love hearing that you have tried so many recipes! Happy baking 🙂

  28. I am very, very new to baking but want to start. Most ingredients seem somewhat standard, but I’m confused about butter. Is one better than another? I just don’t know. Please help.

  29. Hi Sally! Just wondering, is there any way I could get more of that juicy filling? Don’t get me wrong, I love pecans, but I feel that there’s too little juice for the amount of pecans – it’s practically pecans over the crust. Maybe adding more Maple Syrup, or butter? Thanks in advance 🙂

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