The Best Pecan Bars with Shortbread Crust

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Every fall, I usually have my lineup ready of all the goodies I want to bake during the season. This year, these pecan bars with shortbread crust is one of them!

Pecan bars with shortbread crust on white parchment paper.

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t believe a Thanksgiving meal is complete if there isn’t any pumpkin pie and pecan pie for dessert (yes, I need to have a slice of each). I figured I’d change things up a bit and bring these bars over to my mom’s this year instead of pecan pie. Believe me when I tell you that these pecan bars with a buttery shortbread crust are just as good as the pie!

A little pecan pie history

These small batch pecan bars with shortbread crust are inspired by the beloved classic, pecan pie.

Did you know that Texas is the only state to have pecan pie designated as their official state dessert? No one can say for sure who first created this classic recipe that we’ve all come to know and love. One story that I came across online was that a Texas woman had submitted this recipe to be featured in a St. Louis cookbook in 1898.

What’s the pecan filling made of?

Here’s a rundown on the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Pecans
  • Maple syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Cornstarch

Here’s what you’ll need to make the shortbread crust

Definitely pick up a food processor if you don’t have one already. I’ve linked one that you can purchase from Amazon.

  • All-purpose flour
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Egg yolk
  • Milk
  • Salt

See recipe card for quantities.

Looking for other yummy, fall themed recipes? Check out our Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese or our Apple Cheesecake Bars!

The Best Pecan Bars with Shortbread Crust

These small batch pecan pie bars are inspired by the beloved classic, pecan pie.
Print Recipe PIN RECIPE
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:35 minutes
Crust baking time:20 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk

Pecan Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups whole pecans
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

Crust

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside. In a food processor, add in flour, milk, vanilla extract, and cold butter that’s been cubed and pulse for a few seconds. Next, add in salt, egg yolk and sugar. Pulse until everything is well blended together. 
  • Pour dough mixture into baking dish. Form dough crumbles into one ball and then press into the baking dish with your hands and the bottom of something flat, like a measuring cup. This will help get the dough texture as smooth as possible. Poke a few holes into the dough with a fork. Bake crust at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden.

Filling

  • Melt together butter and maple and corn syrup in a pot for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Lower temperature then stir in cornstarch and sugar. Turn off once combined and sauce has thickened. Remove from heat. Let cool for a few minutes.
  • Whisk eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Slowly, add syrup and butter mixture to egg mixture and whisk together as you’re pouring it in. Fold in pecans. Pour over crust and bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Let bars completely cool to room temperature before cutting and serving. Keep bars stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. 

Please leave a rating and a review if you gave this recipe a shot! I welcome any questions or feedback.

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