Pecan Bars

These are the amazing, the delicious, the irresistible Pecan Bars of happiness.  A couple of years ago these bars walked away with a blue ribbon at the Oregon State Fair, and with good reason. They contain all of the wonderful flavors of pecan pie, and then some. The thick fudgey texture, toasted nutty pecans, the sweet caramely filling, and buttery shortbread crust combine together into something magical. People really go crazy for them. It may make you feel a little bit better to know that while I was granted the ability to produce these fabulous confections, unfortunately, (through some horribly evil, cosmic, voodoo curse) I am allergic to pecans. I therefore cannot, must not give in to their siren song, no matter how delicious they may look,  no matter how good they smell, and no matter how decadent they taste. These bars can be made up to two weeks (or dare I say, even a month?) in advance, wrapped tightly and stored in the refrigerator, which makes them perfect for entertaining. One pan of bars can be cut into anywhere from 20 to 75 pieces depending on how you are serving them (using a sharp chef’s knife, and keeping in mind that the chilled bars cut much more beautifully – that’s how I get those perfect, sharp edges). And if you are feeling a little extra indulgent, you can dip half of each bar in melted dark chocolate; for a treat that is sure to satisfy the sweetest of teeth.

I use a variation of Ina Garten’s Pecan Square recipe, which I’ve tweaked a little over the years, the most important differences being the addition of extra orange and lemon zest into the filling mixture, and the use of salted butter throughout  [because no matter what your recipe says, or what they like to tell you on TV, your baked goods are simply going to taste better with salted butter…period… it’s what your grandmothers used, it’s what my grandmothers both used, and it’s what I still use today in everything that I bake….so pick a brand and stick to it (I always use Tillimook because it’s made locally), and you won’t ever have any problems…I promise you]. The honey, orange and lemon zest really make these bars special, and add a floral like quality to them that is deeply delicious. Know that the pan will bubble over and make your oven smoke (don’t be alarmed!)…. so it is imperative that you line your oven wrack with a thick layer of aluminum foil to prevent any unfortunate oven messes.  I also find that the crust needs to be compacted while still hot from the oven (carefully pressed down evenly with the flat bottom of a water glass or metal measuring cup wrapped in paper towels) which I think makes for a better final texture, and allows the bars to slice more beautifully in the end.

Make these. Seriously. Right now….

signature 3


Filed under Blue Ribbon Winners, Cookies/Bars, Desserts

15 responses to “Pecan Bars

  1. How can you not be happy after having a bite from one of those? Unless, you’re allergic, of course. My sister is highly allergic to nuts (and seeds… and many other things), so it’s just recently that I’ve started cooking with them. These pictures are sublime!

  2. Cynthia

    I think that, perhaps, not sharing the recipe could be construed as cruel and unusual.

  3. Bars of happiness! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe that is so close to your heart.

  4. Aw, I am so sad for you that you are allergic to pecans! We will be sure to enjoy these for you. 🙂 Thanks for spreading the happiness!

  5. These bars are so amazing, and absolutely blue ribbon material. I can’t imagine them dipped in chocolate though! It might kill me dead.

  6. These look PERFECT – no wonder why you won a ribben!!!

  7. Joy

    I have always loved pecan pie and bars. I could probably eat the whole batch if you give me the opportunity.

  8. Certainly worth the prize. They are so perfect.

  9. Too bad about the allergy to pecans…These look perfect!

  10. Oh it’s such a shame you’re allergic to pecans!! These bars look divine. I love that slightly translucent fudge filling.

  11. WOWZA!!! You’re desserts look dirty deeelicious! I”m getting hungry just looking at them.

  12. i love pecans. I would definitely like to give them a try. Is there any chance you would share the recipe?

  13. Sandy Rutland

    I am in need of a recipe for pecan pie squares. Yours looks amazing. Would you share the recipe. Thanks

    • Hi Sandy!

      (Yeah, sorry about that. This post was back in the day when I was still trepidatious about sharing recipes… for whatever neurotic reason… but luckily I’m over it!) I use a variation of Ina Garten’s Pecan Square recipe. They are really quite good. The honey, orange and lemon zest in it really make it special, and add a floral like quality to them that is really delicious. Know that the pan will bubble over and make your oven smoke…. so line your oven wrack with a thick layer of aluminum foil to prevent any unfortunate oven messes. =)

      Hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by! =)

  14. Would love to have your recipe they look delious!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s