Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars are pecan pie filling atop a shortbread crust. Chocolate, bourbon, pecans, & brown butter make these Pecan Bars extra special!
We’re having a special family event this week -- a party celebrating the engagement of my older daughter to her beau.
Yes, I said beau, just like “Little House on the Prairie.” I like the sound of it.
My future son-in-law’s mother and I are baking all sorts of hand-held desserts for the occasion, and my younger daughter is going to make one of her gorgeous cake creations. (Note: to see some of her previous cakes, go to Sweetheart Cakes and Treats and prepare to be amazed!).
One of the treats my daughter asked for is pecan pie (more specifically, the Black Bottom Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie I make for Thanksgiving). Since we’re going with finger-food style here (well, except for the cake), I decided to make pecan bars...essentially pecan pie filling atop a shortbread crust.
How hard can that be? (cue the theme to “Jaws” here…)
Going to an expert
This recipe had all the flavors I wanted…toasted pecans, chocolate, and a splash of bourbon for fun, all on flaky shortbread. Yummm…
What you need
Shortbread crust and a modified pecan pie filling, that's what these Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars contain.
- Flour: Used for structure in both the crust and filling
- Salt: Adds flavor to the crust and filling
- Sugar: The sweetness needs to come from somewhere!
- Butter: In the crust, it's a key ingredient. For the filling, brown the butter if desired.
- Dark brown sugar: Adds sweetness and a deep molasses flavor to the filling
- Eggs: Adds structure to the filling
- Bourbon: Optional, but adds spicy vanilla flavor
- Vanilla extract: Adds that essential vanilla and floral notes
- Chocolate chips: Why not, it's chocolate!
- Pecans: You don't have Pecan Bars without pecans
- Browning the butter gives you a toasty, nutty flavor to the filling. Since you're already melting the butter, browning it is just letting it cook for a little longer. Why not?
- You can add up to 1/4 cup of bourbon if you want more of that flavor
- Make sure the oven is fully preheated (at least 20 minutes), so that you don't have hot spots
Pecan Bars, Derby Pie Bars, or Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars...whatever you want to call it, these bars are easy and delicious.
They''ll make any event extra special!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, (4-1/4 oz, 120g)
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ cup sugar, (1-3/4 oz, 50g)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, (4 oz, 115g)
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, (3 oz, 85g)
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar, (2-1/2 oz, 70g)
- ⅓ cup sugar, (2 oz, 60g)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp bourbon, optional, see Recipe Notes
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour, (1-3/4 oz, 9g)
- ¾ cup chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate (4-1/2 oz, 130g)
- ¾ cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (3-1/4 oz, 95g)
- sea salt flakes, if desired
- Make the crust: Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Cube the butter and toss it to the bowl. Pulse until the mixture forms large clumps.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press it evenly across the bottom and 1/4-inch up the sides.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until very pale golden.
- Make the filling: Melt the butter a small saucepan over medium heat. If desired, brown it by continuing to cook it, stirring frequently, until golden brown bits form at the bottom, about 5 minutes. Transfer butter to a large bowl and let it cool. To speed the cooling, set it in the freezer for a couple minutes or stir it over an ice water bath.
- Whisk the sugars into the cooled butter until smooth, then add the egg, yolk, salt, bourbon (if using) and vanilla. Stir in flour until just combined, then mix in chocolate and nuts.
- Pour over par-baked crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt before baking, if desired.
- Bake bars for 20 to 25 minutes, until top is firm and golden. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan.
- Once they’re cool, transfer them from the pan to a cutting board using the parchment paper overhand. Cut into 2-inch squares or 1-inch x 2-inch rectangles.
- Serve plain, with whipped cream or a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream.