If you love pecan pie but don't have the time to make one, these pecan pie bars are quick and easy to whip up and are absolutely scrumptious!
Chewy, crunchy, sweet, and incredibly addictive! This is everything a cookie should be, and it's permanently on my Christmas cookie list beginning this year.
Pecan Pie - A North American Original
Pecan pie is known as a specialty of the South. Pecans originally grew along areas that received water from the Mississippi River. They were propagated by Native Americans who made the first versions of this popular dessert. Now most pecan farms are found in Georgia.
The earliest recipes for pecan pie emerged from Texas in the 1920's. But when Karo syrup printed a copy of the recipe on their corn syrup bottle in the mid 1920's, it became popular across the country.
Pecans Are Associated With The Winter Holidays
Pecans are often associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes. That's because they are harvested beginning late in September through November, which gets them to your table just in time for the holidays. I use pecans on top of my sweet potato casserole, in Kevin's favorite Christmas cookies, and in these wonderful pecan pie bars!
Origin of This Recipe
This mid century handwritten recipe is from my friend Susan's 96-year-old Aunt Helen. I was thumbing through her recipes one day and when I came across this one. As soon as I read it I knew it would be fantastic! Aunt Helen lived in the Hollywood Hills during the mid century years, and is still living here in Los Angeles. She doesn't cook anymore, but other family members are carrying on the tradition of cooking her well loved recipes. And now you can, too!
Just a Few Simple Ingredients
It only takes a few ingredients for these chewy and delicious bar cookies:
For the crust:
- Powdered sugar
For the filling:
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Vanilla extract
- Heath bar chips
- Chopped pecans
Hints for Making Pecan Pie Bars
- Use cold butter for the crust. You want to cut it into the flour mixture until it looks like small pearls, but not cream it so that it blends in completely. Pulsing it in a food processor is the fastest and easiest method and will give you the best results.
- To prepare the pecans, I use a nut grinder on a coarse setting.
- Remove the bars from the oven when they begin turning a golden color. If you overtbake them they will harden upon cooling, and you want them to be chewy.
These are fast and easy, so why not whip up a batch now? Let us know what you think after you try them!
Pecan Pie Bars - The Best Bar Cookies Ever!
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup cold butter
- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 oz. Heath Bar chips
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 pan with non-stick spray.
- Combine flour and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times until mixed.
- Cut butter into cubes, then add to mixture in food processor and pulse until it is evenly distributed and looks like small beads.
- Using the back of a large spoon, pat into the bottom of greased 13 x 9 in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. When you remove it from the oven the crust will be moist, light in color and partially baked.
- In a large bowl, beat the sweetened condensed milk, egg, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Stir in chips and pecans until fully combined.
- Spread evenly over crust and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool, then cut into bars. Store in sealed container.