Pecan Bars Recipe

Courtesy Of America's Test Kitchen

Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

For pecan bars with all the best attributes of pecan pie — buttery crust, gooey filling, and nutty topping — we cut back on both wet and dry ingredients for the perfect balance of sweetness and gooeyness. We load the bars with pecans, adding ground nuts to the crust to give an extra boost of rich pecan flavor to our recipe. Hints of vanilla extract and bourbon keep the filling from being cloying and complement the pecans. Because of their high sugar content, pecan bars store well and taste great up to five days after baking.

Pecan Bars

Makes 16 bars.

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  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup packed (2 ⅓ ounces) plus ½ cup packed (3 ½ ounces) light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarse, plus 1 ¾ cups, chopped coarse
  • Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½ -inch pieces and chilled, plus 4 tablespoons melted and cooled
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Make foil sling for 8-inch square baking pan. Grease aluminum foil.

2. Pulse flour, ⅓ cup sugar, toasted pecans, 1 teaspoon salt, and baking powder in food processor until combined, about 5 pulses. Scatter chilled butter over top and pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal, about 8 pulses. Sprinkle mixture into prepared pan and press into even layer. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

3. Meanwhile, whisk corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, melted butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and remaining ½ cup sugar in large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in egg until combined. Spread filling evenly over hot crust and sprinkle with remaining 1 ¾ cups pecans. Bake until top is brown and cracks start to form across surface, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let bars cool in pan on wire rack for 2 hours. Using foil overhang, lift bars out of pan. Cut into 16 pieces before serving.

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