Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

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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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THE RECIPE

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

[show_shopthepost_widget id=”2073748″]

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

79 comments

  1. I made these pecan pie bars today, and I thought they were delish! I love this flaky, tender, buttery crust (I love this crust with your salted caramel apple bars, which are also SO good). I loved that this wasn’t overly sweet. Sometimes, I get nervous trying pecan pie bars/pies not knowing if it’s going to be overly sweet, but I really liked the sweetness in these. I made only half a batch (8×8 pan), since only my husband and I like nuts (I’ve got 5 picky eaters). I think the bars were a little over-baked around the edges (my fault), so I should definitely bake them for less time next time. I baked them for 30 minutes, and it was too much. Great recipe!

  2. These look amazing!! Can’t wait to try them! Any replacement suggestions for the heavy cream if trying to make them dairy free? Would soy milk work?

    Thanks!

  3. Be still my heart, these bars look dreamy!

  4. Hey Sally! I made these last night. And while they taste delicious my crust burned on the bottom…but the tip didn’t. Any tips on how to avoid that? Thanks! 

  5. Made these and there are no words to convey the deliciousness!!! Probably in the top 10  best tasting desserts I have ever made! Thank you! This is the first time I have made pecan pie bars. Make pie and pecan tassies all the time! Wonderful! Happy Thanksgiving!!! This will be my go to from now on!

  6. Hi Sally, I love this recipe! Just wanted to let you know that I made my own version of these and posted them on my UK food blog, I’ve credited you as my inspiration. Feel free to have a look! http://maverickbaking.com/salted-pecan-pie-shortbread-bars/ 

  7. Hi, Sally!  I usually have 100% success on all of your recipes, but I struggled with this one.  My crust fell apart and would never stay together with the topping when completely cooled.  Do you have any suggestions of what might have gone wrong?  I have went back over the recipe multiple times, but it looks like I followed it all correctly.  Thanks!

    • Hi Bailey! Were you sure not to change anything in the ingredients? And you used a full cup (2 sticks) of butter? Make sure you don’t let it fully cool before layering with the topping. Also, you can try pre-baking the crust for less time. Maybe only 10 minutes. The should help.

  8. Sally…do you think i could use Half & Half instead? TIA!

  9. Hi Sally!

    I tried to look through your comments first to make sure you don’t need to repeat this, so I am sorry if you’ve already responded to this question!

    I am looking to make individual pecan pie tarts (not quite as small as your mini cupcake size) but want to use your filling for either these bars or your favourite pecan pie recipe! Do you have any idea which recipe would yield more pies, and/or how many they would yield by any chance?

    I am sure they will be super delicious!! Thank you in advance for your help!

  10. Hi Sally:
    I’m so glad you posted this recipe! I love pecan pie, and I especially like that it is in bar form! By the way, I thought you might like to know that at some point in the directions of the recipe you call the bars blondies.
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

  11. Wonderful recipe! Made these today for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. One question though: the crust doesn’t seem to be setting up so that I can cut them into bars. When I mixed up the crust it didn’t look exactly like the picture….a little more wet looking. So, I added a tiny bit more flour. I did grease the pan as well instead of using paper. Any ideas? I’m still waiting for it to color completely. I’m sure they will be amazing either way but I just might not be able to cut them into bars. Thanks!

    • I had the same problem, but did not add more flour. I cooked the crust for 15 minutes, and then followed the rest of the directions. The crust tasted off, almost raw. I would think it would continue to cook after filling it and putting it back in the oven, but it didn’t improve (too much butter?). They fell apart and didn’t taste as good as pecan pie. Oh well, I’m serving them anyway, topped with ice-cream. I’m sure they’ll be fine.

    • Had the exact same problem! I added almost a cup more flour, and half a cup more sugar and a little more vanilla. I kept going until it had the same structure as in the picture and it worked out very well. This is a great recipe if you just play with those things a little bit. 

  12. This recipe was amazing! I made it for Thanksgiving and it tasted like pecan pie on top of a brown butter short bread cookie. Now I have requests to make it for everything. Recipes like this one are why this is my go to for new baked goods. Thank you!

  13. Hi Sally,
    These look amazing and I’m going to make them for an office holiday dessert showcase. I need to double the recipe so do you recommend making them in two 9×13″ pans or can I bake the double batch in a half sheet pan? If I can use a half sheet, how long do you think they would need to bake?

    I love your website. You inspire me!

  14. The top part came out great, but the crust was a crumbly mess.  Did I not bake it long enough?  I also couldn’t find my usual 9×13 pan, and had to bake it in a glass 9×13 dish.  Is that what messed it up?

  15. Sally – could you do a baking basics video on tempering butter? I had so many issues with trying to do this, and I eventually had to just take the mixture off of the heat for a minute or two before stirring in the egg mixture.  I think it’s just a technique that I’m missing since I’m pretty new to baking. I may also not have added a full 1/2 cup of the mixture to the eggs initially… but I also had issues adding the small amount of mixture to the eggs.  Otherwise, the recipe was pretty straightforward and went well for me! 

  16. I have tried countless of pecan pie recipes over the last five years and I have NEVER been successful. Either my crust isn’t fully cooked or my pie is way too runny. I would love to try these to see if I am finally able to make something within the pecan family. After countless tries I have read that after pre baking you should wait to cool the pie before adding the syrup. Please tell me how long should I let the pie cool before adding my hot syrup. As always, thank you for sharing your delicious recipes. 

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