Pecan pies are a guilty pleasure. I love fall, when pecan pie slices go up for sale at the bakery (thank goodness for the individual slices — I would demolish an entire pie). I rarely bake them myself, though, because the ingredients list is a bit … icky. Like, corn syrup.
A lot of corn syrup. (And yes, I know that corn syrup is not high fructose corn syrup (although, check your bottle’s label — some lesser brands do use HFCS in their corn syrup). Still….)
The stuff just weirds me out — clear and thick and super sticky … like honey, only so not honey. But I can’t argue with the results, because me and pecan pie are BFFs, especially if there’s chocolate involved.
And then there’s the candy-baked-into-desserts thing. The trend from last year is holding over to this year, I’ve noticed. Sure, I’ve had M&M cookies (and lots of them) in my lifetime, but I didn’t get the purpose of stuffing a candy bar into a dessert. And I didn’t get it for a whole year.
Then I decided to stop wrinkling my nose at the concept, and just try it.
Well, I get it now. I. get. it.
Because these pecan pie bars are stuffed with Rolos — you know, those little one-bite chocolate-wrapped caramel drops — and when they baked up … holy moly … they went all melty gooey. Melty gooey, people.
And after they cooled and sat a while, the pecan pie goodness — already yummy in its own right — kind of mixed and mingled fully with the chocolate chip/Rolo layer, and made this magical mixture of pecan-chocolate-caramel goodness on a chocolate shortbread crust.
Can’t see all the melty ooey-gooey goodness of the pecan pie bar? Try this view:
Geez Louise. I can hardly look at this picture without flashbacks of the very first bite. Zowie! It’s pecan pie supercharged with chocolate and caramel in a tidy little cookie bar form. (Cookie bar form = eat with your hands, which is preferred because I don’t want anything to stand between me and these pecan pie bars. Not even a fork.)
These heavenly chocolate caramel pecan pie bars will definitely be making repeat appearances throughout the holiday season. (And if the groove strikes you, and the festivities warrant it, add 1/4 cup of bourbon to the filling — heavenly boozy chocolate caramel melty gooey goodness). Not only are they crazy delish warmed from the oven, but they’re almost even better on days 2, 3, and 4 — a make-ahead gold mine if there ever was one!
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
- 3 cups pecans halves and pieces
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (a mix of dark and semi-sweet is nice)
- 1 heaping cup mini Rolo candies, sliced in half
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
- Line the inside of a 13- x 9-inch pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides, and smooth, tucking the foil neatly along the corners. Lightly grease foil.
- Pulse flour, sugar, cocoa, and butter in a food processor 5 to 10 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to the pan, and press the mixture on the bottom and partway (about 3/4") up the sides of the prepared pan. Press to firm and even out.
- Bake the crust at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips and Rolos over crust. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 20 minutes).
- Whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, and eggs until smooth. Stir in the toasted pecans, and spoon into prepared crust.
- Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and set. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour), then chill 1 hour in the fridge to completely set the bars. Carefully lift the "pie" from pan, using foil sides as handles. Transfer to a cutting board; cut into bars using a sharp serrated knife.
Adapted from Southern Living