If you think pecan pie sounds like a Thanksgiving treat, think again. Growing up, a variation on this classic — my mom’s Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars — was a staple of every potluck, cookout and yes, holiday get-together my family attended.
Pecans deserve to shine more than once a year, and these nutty bars are always a hit. I remember my mom bringing them to tailgates at Ole Miss, her alma mater, where the platter would be emptied after just a couple of hours. My mom always complains she’s sick of her “same old recipes,” but there’s a reason she’s stuck with them over the years. She says a family friend gave her this recipe, but really we have no idea where they came from — and we’ve never seen them anywhere else.
The press-in crust comes together in about a minute, and you can blind bake it while you prepare the chocolate topping. And the filling — wow. My sister and I were more than happy to clean the bowl after the bars went into the oven.
“The trick is to get them done without being too hard or mushy,” she advises, and I know exactly what she means. These bars have a soft, lightly chewy consistency that counters the crunchy pecans perfectly.
Bring a tupperware full of these treats to your next barbecue, and I guarantee turkey and stuffing will be the furthest thing from your guests’ minds.
Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup Karo light corn syrup
3/4 cup Karo dark corn syrup
6 squares Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 15 by 10-inch baking pan.
To make the crust, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the butter and salt on medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large saucepan over low heat, combine the corn syrups and chocolate. Heat, stirring, until the chocolate melts, then remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, then the eggs and vanilla until blended. Stir in the pecans. Pour the filling over the hot crust and spread evenly. Bake at 350°F until the filling is firm around the edges and slightly soft in the center, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan or on a wire rack. Makes 48 bars.
About the author: Olivia Terenzio grew up in Mississippi, where she cultivated a love of sweet potatoes, crawfish and cloth napkins at a young age. A passion for sharing food with friends and family led her into the kitchen and later to culinary school, where she learned how to roast a chicken and decorate a cake like a pro. As a Williams-Sonoma blog editor, she’s now lucky enough to be talking, writing and thinking about food all day.