Out of all my family's Christmas dessert recipes, these pecan pie bars are probably the most popular. Whenever we bring a plate of desserts over to a friend's place over the holidays, someone raves about them... and the people who've had them before always make sure to save a little room for some pecan bars.
This is a completely decadent dessert — a delicious cookie crust, topped with homemade caramel and crunchy pecans. Trust me, you'll just have to try it out to see how good it is!
These pecan pie bars are especially good to make for Christmas, because they freeze so well. You can make them weeks ahead of time, and then just take out what you need for each holiday meal. So not only are they outstanding, but they help relieve some of that holiday stress!
Here it is!
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, cream 1 cup butter and 1/2 a cup brown sugar until light and fluffy. Incorporate the egg. Add the flour one cup at time, stirring each time until it's just blended. Be careful not to overmix.
Press the crust mixture into a 15"x10"x3/4" jelly roll pan. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
Spread the pecans evenly over the crust. My mom likes to place the pecans right side up, evenly spaced — about half an inch to an inch apart.
In a large heavy saucepan, melt the remaining butter and honey. Add the brown sugar, and boil for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until you get a rich caramel color. Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the cream, mixing until it's smooth and well-blended.
Pour the caramel over the crust and pecans, and bake for 15 more minutes.
Let cool, and cut into bars.
You can also make the cookie crust by combining all the ingredients in a food processor until they're all blended. I prefer to mix by hand because I find the food processor makes too dense a crust, and it's a bit messy to clean up... but the food processor is definitely easier and faster!
When you're measuring out the flour, don't dip your measuring cup into the bag of flour — that can make the flour become more compact, and you'll end up adding way more than you need to. Instead, spoon the flour into your measuring cup, and level it off with a knife.
A pretty way to cut these pecan bars is to cut them so that each bar has one or two pecans on it. They don't need to be much bigger, because this is a very rich dessert!
To store these pecan pie bars, cut them into squares, then place them in an airtight container in the freezer. If you need to stack the bars, separate each layer by a sheet of wax paper. When you want some bars, just take out what you need and let them defrost for about an hour.