Pecan Pie Bars are everything we love about a classic fall and winter pie but simply reimagined into bite-size indulgences. I like to add a small amount of fresh orange zest to the crust mixture. It adds a subtle flavor note and a wisp of a favorite seasonal aroma. Like other bars, these are best served after a thorough chilling. (And they freeze well too.) If left out at room temperature too long, the filling does get sticky. At parties, serve a dozen on a chilled glass platter and replenish as needed with additional bars stored in the refrigerator.
Pecan Pie Bars
Yield: 48 bars
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup
2/3 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons spiced rum
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Freshly whipped cream (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350F. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil lengthwise, letting about an inch of foil hang over the handles.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat 1 3/4 cups flour, butter, sugar, and orange zest, scraping often, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in finely chopped pecans. Press mixture into foil-lined baking pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until edges are golden. Let cool 5 minutes.
3. With a spatula, mix corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, flour, rum, and salt. Stir in the nuts. Spread over the crust.
4. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the filling is set and knife inserted at least 1-inch from the edge comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Lift bars from the pan by the foil “handles” and place on a cutting board. Cut into bars. Serve immediately with a small dot of freshly whipped cream.
Recipe note: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. If stacking, use parchment paper or nonstick foil between layers.