Chocolate Pecan Bars – a variation on our very popular pecan pie bars, with a little less filling but even more nuts, all topped off with a decadent chocolate top layer.
Sometime recipe inspiration can come right to your front door. Literally.
Jennifer has been our mail carrier for quite some time and although we had spoken briefly before when she was delivering packages , she recently discovered that I was that guy from Rock Recipes. She had purchased all my cookbooks and had obviously seen my name many times in print but had never connected the two.
She later connected with me on Facebook to ask a question about a pecan bar that she loved from the Hungry Heart Cafe, which is not far from where I live and on her route. She sent me a photo and described it much like my own very popular recipe for Pecan Pie Bars, except with a layer of chocolate on top.
That notion intrigued me and they sounded quite delicious. They must have been quite delectable because a week or so later Jennifer dropped another package off at my font door (yes, I shop online a bit too much) and said that she was headed to the Hungry Heart for another pecan bar. They must be addictive.
At that point I began to think about how to adapt my own recipe to make a similar cookie bar. I decided the best way to do that was to decrease the sweet pie filling element and to increase the ratio of nuts. This would make them easier to cut, with less of the softer part of the filling, and really let the pecan flavour shine.
The experiment worked beautifully. Spouse, who doesn’t eat large amounts of sweets, just couldn’t resist them. I saw her returning to the container several times to sneak another one. She also brought some to work on a couple of occasions to share with her co-workers and they loved them just as much.
I have a feeling that this version of the recipe might become just as popular as the original! Give them a try and see what you think.
Like this Chocolate Pecan Bars recipe?
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- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 large or extra large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 cup corn syrup dark is best
- 1 1/3 cups roughly chopped pecans no need to toast the pecans
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
- 3 tbsp butter
This recipe uses a 9x9 inch baking pan. In this recipe I think it is best to line to lightly grease the pan and line it with parchment paper so that you can lift the entire batch out of the pan after they have cooled and cut them on a cutting board. With cookie bars like this, which have different textures in the different layers, this enables you to have a more precise feeling for how to cut them well. More about that a little later in the recipe.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F for aluminum bake ware and 325 degrees F for glass bake ware.
Mix together the 1 1/4 cups flour and 1/3 cup sugar. Rub the butter through the flour mixture until it is well incorporated and resembles a dry coarse meal. (You can pulse the butter into the flour mixture using a food processor if you prefer.)
Press the crumb mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. The edges should just be starting to brown. Remove from oven and pour on the nut filling while still hot.
Mix together the 3 tbsp flour and brown sugar well. This will ensure there will be no lumps of either flour or brown sugar in you cookie bars when baked. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla extract, salt and corn syrup.
Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes while the bottom layer pre-bakes, stirring it occasionally. This gives the flour time to soften and help thicken the top layer.
Mix in the chopped pecans and pour the topping over the partially baked bottom crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes until the filling is set and the nuts are just turning golden brown.
Cool the pan to room temperature before chilling the cookie bars in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
Add the chocolate chips and stir constantly to melt the chips until the chocolate is smooth.
Pour over the cooled pecan squares, spread evenly and allow to cool at room temperature until the chocolate has set.
Cut into squares or bars. Store in an airtight plastic container. These will freeze quite well.
I lift the cookies from the pan after they have fully cooled in and lay them out on a cutting board. I've found the best thing to use is a sharp serrated knife held horizontally to saw through the chocolate and nut layers before pushing on through to the softer layers below. I cut one entire row of cookies off at a time and then cut each row separately into individual cookie bars.
As these are quite rich I tend to cut them a little smaller than other cookie bars.
Notes I do not use a grinder for nuts, as I think they generally get ground too finely. I give them a rough chop with a knife or if I have time, snap each pecan into 4 pieces, so that they are large enough to see and to bite into in the cake.