Brown Sugar Pie Bars are easy to make, richly flavored, & pleasingly sweet. They're a portion-controlled piece of pie & a real crowd pleaser!
Southern Brown Sugar Pie is so good, I decided to adapt it into bars. They are a big hit with my family, and are really easy.
Turn a pie into a pie bar
This time I adapted my shortbread recipe for this purpose.
The ingredients for the filling will be the same as for the Southern Brown Sugar PIe. It's just the base that changes.
How to make a slab pie
Start by making the shortbread base. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the flour and salt.
I use a mixer for this purpose, but you can make the base by hand using the biscuit method. That is, mixing the dry shortbread ingredients together, then cutting in the flour with a pastry blender. Either way works.
Press the shortbread into your pan. Using plastic wrap and a pie pan roller, helps get everything even without making too much of a mess.
While the base is baking, whisk the filling together. The ingredients are the same as for Southern Brown Sugar Pie, although the amounts are scaled based on the size of the baking pan being used.
[Side note: in the pictures I lined the baking pan with partchment paper on just two sides. It's better to have all the sides covered, so lay the parchment criss-cross in your pan. You'll thank me later.]
Pour the filling onto the hot shortbread, then pop the pan back in the oven and bake until the filling is set.
It's best to wait until the bars have cooled in the pan before removing them to a cutting board.
What size baking pan should I use?
Just a word on the baking pan. I've used this 13-x18-inch half sheet baking pan before, and it has yielded 48 2-inch square bars.
I've also scaled the recipe back to a 9- x 13-inch quarter sheet baking pan when I didn’t need quite so many bars, and I like a 1- x 2-inch bar anyway (these are really sweet).
Also, if you want the filling to be a little thicker, use a 9- x 9-inch baking pan. I’ve provided ingredient amounts for all the different pan sizes in the recipe notes.
These Brown Sugar Pie Bars have become a frequently requested item around here. They freeze, defrost, and travel well, so sharing them with
my future self others is easy.
In fact, I think there’s a bar in the freezer calling my name…10 minutes to defrost on the counter and I’ll be in pie bar heaven.
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
p.s. Happy birthday to my Boston girl...grown up, wise, caring, & beautiful you may be, but you’ll always be my baby girl with the big blue eyes and hugs to cherish. And yes, I’ll make a batch of Brown Sugar Pie Bars just for you!
Recipes for bar cookies, brownies, and pie bars (aka slab pies)
Bar cookies, brownies, and pie bars (aka slab pies) all are recipes that make a lot with little effort (and no individual portioning). Here are a few ideas for these yummy treats!
Brown Sugar Pie Bars (Slab Pie)
- pizza cutter or sharp knife
These amounts are for an 13- x 18-inch half sheet baking pan…the amounts for a 9- x 13-inch quarter sheet baking pan are in the Recipe Notes below
For the crust
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
For the filling
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4⅔ cups brown sugar, see Recipe Notes
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 13- x 18-inch half sheet baking pan with parchment paper (criss-cross) or foil, leaving an overhang all around to help lift the bars out of the pan later.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the flour and salt and mix just until a dough forms.
- Par bake the crust for 15 minutes or until light brown.
- Make the filling: While the crust is baking, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Whisk everything together until the filling is well combined and smooth.
- Remove the pan from the oven and pour the filling on top of the hot base. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is set, about 25 to 30 minutes. It will puff up but will settle down when cooling. Don't bake for more than 35 minutes or the filling can get too firm.
- Cool the bars completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- Lift the uncut bars out of pan by the parchment paper or foil overhang and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the bars using a pizza cutter (it’s much easier). If you use a knife, just wipe the blade after each time you slice.
- Serve and enjoy!
For a 9- x 13-inch quarter sheet baking pan:Bake the filling-topped bars for 20 to 25 minutes using the following ingredient amounts:
For the Crust
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113g)
- ½ cup powdered sugar (56g) or ¼ cup granulated sugar (50g)
- 1 cup flour (120g)
- ½ tsp salt
For the Filling
- 3 eggs
- 3⅓ cups brown sugar (454g)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted (113g)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt