my favorite pecan bar

I have been holding off making these pecan bars, because when I bake them, I cannot stop eating them. Seriously. A pound of butter, a perfect ratio of nut to caramel filling to shortbread base— these are off-the-charts delicious.  The Older Brother eats them by the row.  The Brother #2 and Wife fight over them (I believe I once heard an accusation of hiding and hoarding.)  Even The Husband, decidedly a savory guy, devours them. You, I think, will love them.

How could you not, with all that buttery, crunchy, sticky goodness?

They are not the simplest bar cookie to put together, but they are worth every minute spent. Thank you, Cookie Goddess Maida Heatter, for creating the perfect pecan bar.

Pecan Squares Americana
from Cookies by Maida Heatter

Printable recipe

Pastry Shell

2 sticks butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
¼ teaspoon salt (I up it to ½ teaspoon)
finely grated rind of 1 large lemon
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Butter a 15 1/2x10 1/2 x 1 inch jelly-roll pan and then line it with aluminum foil 
as follows: Turn the pan upside down.  Center a piece of foil shiny side down over the pan.  Fold down the sides and the corners to shape the foil. Remove foil, turn the pan right side up and place shaped foil carefully into place.  Do not butter the foil.

In large bowl of electric mixer, beat the butter until it is softened, add sugar, beat to mix well.  Beat in egg, salt and lemon rind. 
Gradually add flour and beat, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula, until the mixture holds together.

Line the pan with the dough; it is important that you have enough dough on sides of the pan to reach generously to the top of the pan.  Place little pieces about 1/2 inch to 1 inch apart and press mounds of dough, working up sides first and then on bottom.  There must not be any thin spots on the bottom or any low spots on the sides.

With fork, prick bottom at about 1/2 inch intervals.  Chill 15 minutes. (I sometimes skip the chill and it turns out okay.  I think it depends on how warm/cool your kitchen is.)

Adjust rack 1/3 up from bottom of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes.  Watch it constantly.  

If dough puffs, prick gently with toothpick to release trapped air. Or pat it down with an oven mitt.  After 20 minutes, the edges of the dough will be lightly colored; the bottom will be pale but dry.  Remove from oven but do not turn off heat.  Prepare topping.


2 sticks butter
½ cup honey (I prefer less honey flavor and decrease to ¼ cup.)
¼ cup sugar
1 cup plus 2 T. dark brown sugar
, firmly packed (I increase to 1½ cups)
¼ cup heavy cream (I increase this to ⅓ cup)

20 ounces (5 cups) pecan halves or large pieces

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan over moderately high heat, cook butter and honey, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.  Add both sugars, stir to dissolve, bring to a boil, and let boil without stirring for exactly 2 minutes.

Without waiting, remove from heat, stir in the heavy cream and then the pecans.  Wait 5 minutes.  Then place mixture carefully onto the crust. (It will look like there is not enough of the thin syrup mixture, but it is ok.)

Bake at 375 degrees with rack 1/3 up from bottom for about 20 minutes.  (Now you will see that syrupy mixture has spread out and boiled up and filled in any hollows.)

Cool to room temperature
.  Do not chill.

Use a long and heavy, sharp knife and cut straight down (not back and forth.) 

Good at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  


  1. I have no doubt that I will definitely LOVE this!! can't wait to try this in my kitchen. thanks for posting the recipe!!

  2. Anything with pecans gets my attention! Looks so good.

    Happy Thanksgiving!


  3. the Sister loves them, too. unfortunately, I don't live nearby and only get to eat Rebecca's bars once a year. the Brothers should appreciate how much work Rebecca has to do every time she makes it. :)

  4. These look fabulous but one pound of butter.....one whole pound...Oh my.

    I guess that is why, they are so good.


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