If you’re craving that pecan pie flavor but without all the work that goes into a pie, these sticky bars check all the boxes. Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt take the edge of the sweetness. Once cooled and sliced, they package nicely for a Thanksgiving gift, too.
- 1 stick softened unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 11/2 cups all purpose wheat or gluten-free flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 1/4 cup whipping cream, half-and-half, or dairy-free coffee creamer
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Variations: Add 1/2 cup of mini white chips or chocolate chips, or substitute walnuts for the pecans.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Butter 9x9x2-inch metal cake pan and line with parchment paper.
- Beat together butter, sugar, and egg yolk.
- Add flour and salt; mix until moist clumps form.
- Press dough over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of pan.
- Bake crust until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool.
- In a medium saucepan bring the syrup, sugar, cream and butter to a boil, stirring until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Boil filling 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat and mix in vanilla and pecans.
- Pour hot filling into crust. It will be very runny. Bake until filling is bubbling in center, about 15 minutes.
- Cool bars completely in pan on rack (filling will become firm). Score the cooled slice with a sharp knife. If any filling has bubbled over the crust or parchment paper, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen.
- Chill at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. Can be made 3 days ahead.