Maple Pecan Bars

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If you love pecan pie – then you need to try these maple pecan bars. They have thick, buttery base with a sweet maple pecan pie layer on top. Easier than making a traditional pie – using maple syrup adds so much flavor. Stack of three maple pecan bars

These maple pecan bars have a buttery shortbread base with a delicious maple pecan layer on top. The maple layer is sweet, slightly gooey and filled with nuts. It has the perfect hint of salt to balance out the sweetness of the maple. Then the shortbread base is perfectly tender and so much easier than making a traditional pie crust. If you’ve ever wanted pecan pie without corn syrup – then these bars are the recipe for you.

Plus – pie bars are perfect for serving a crowd and are so much easier to transport than a traditional pie.

Making Maple Pecan Bars

Plate of maple pecan shortbread bars, with bars stacked on top of each other

To make these bars, you’ll start with the shortbread base. Shortbread should never be too sweet, because the butter is rich enough.

  1. You’ll start by beating together the softened butter, sugar and vanilla until combined.
  2. Then beat in the flour and cornstarch. The mixture should feel dry and should be slightly difficult to mix together. I end up stirring it a bit by hand.
  3. Spoon/dump the dough into your prepared pan. Then press it down into an even layer and prick with a fork. You just want to prick the very top of the dough – your fork should not touch the bottom of the pan.
  4. Then bake the shortbread base in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the top looks set.

Bowl of shortbread dough and lined pan with unbaked shortbread base.

**Prebaking the base layer is absolutely necessary. If you don’t prebake the base layer, then it will end up raw.

While the base layer is baking, it’s time to get on with the maple pecan topping. The recipe is similar to making a pecan pie filling. However, because maple syrup is much thinner than corn syrup (what’s typically used in pecan pie) – the ratios of the ingredients have to be altered to ensure that the filling isn’t too thin and watery.

  1. Start by melting together the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup over low heat in a medium saucepan.
  2. Once melted, bring the mixture to a gentle boil while stirring. Let in gently boil for about 3 minutes while gently stirring. This is for the pecan layer to thicken.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. In a separate small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and cream.
  5. Then it’s time to temper the eggs. You’ll whisk 1 tablespoon of the hot maple mixture into the eggs mixture. It’s important to constantly be whisking the eggs as you add in the hot maple mixture. Then whisk 1 more tablespoon of the maple mixture into the eggs.
    • This step is really important to warm up the eggs slowly. If you add cold eggs to the hot maple mixture, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs in the maple mixture.
  6. Whisk the warm egg mixture into the maple mixture. Whisk constantly until the mixture is one, even consistency.
  7. Stir in the chopped pecans, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt.

Saucepan of maple pecan filling, and pan of unbaked maple pecan bars

You’ll then pour the warm mixture over top of the baked shortbread base. It will go back in the oven for about 30 minutes. If you start to notice that the pecan layer is puffing up, that’s ok. It will fall back down as the bars cool.

These maple pecan bars will need to cool 100% before slicing. This is necessary for the maple layer to set properly. If the bars are still warm, they’re very difficult to slice.

Baking Tips & Tricks

  • Be sure to use real maple syrup and not maple flavored syrup.
  • The pecans should be chopped for this recipe. This makes it much easier to slice the baked and cooled bars.
  • While you’ll taste the maple, it’s a mild maple flavor. If you’d like a stronger maple flavor, feel free to add in 1/2 teaspoon maple extract (which can be found in a baking aisle).

Three maple pecan pie bars, stacked one on top of each other.

And if you’re looking for more pecan recipes, then be sure to try:

Stack of three maple pecan bars

Maple Pecan Bars

If you love pecan pie - then you need to try these maple pecan bars. They have thick, buttery base with a sweet maple pecan pie layer on top. Easier than making a traditional pie - using maple syrup adds so much flavor.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 18 bars
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Equipment

  • 9x13 inch (23 x 33 cm) baking pan*

Ingredients 

Shortbread Base

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams) , softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (281 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, AKA cornflour

Maple Pecan Layer

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (112 grams)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup (160 ml)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (158 grams) , I used dark
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream, something around 33% MF
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped pecans, measure after chopping

Instructions 

Shortbread Layer

  • Preheat the oven to 325F (170C). Line a 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang around the edges. Alternatively, lightly grease the pan.
  • In a medium bowl, beat together the softened butter, sugar and vanilla until combined.
  • Then mix in the flour and cornstarch. If they are lumpy, I recommend whisking them in. The batter should be dry and slightly difficult to incorporate all the flou.
  • Press the dough into your prepared pan and form into an even layer. Prick with the tines of a fork.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the top looks set. Remove from the oven, keeping the oven turned on.

Maple Pecan Layer

  • While the shortbread is baking, make the filling.
  • Add the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup to a saucepan over medium heat. Melt together while gently stirring.
  • Bring the mixture to a gently boil for 3 minutes while stirring. After 3 minutes, remove from the heat.
  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and cream.
  • Whisk 1 tablespoon of the hot maple mixture into the eggs while constantly whisking. Once incorporated, whisk 1 more tablespoon of the hot maple mixture into the egg mixture. Be sure to constantly whisk.
  • Then whisk the tempered egg mixture into the maple mixture. Be sure to constantly whisk - otherwise you can end up with scrambled eggs.
  • Stir in the cinnamon, vanilla, salt and chopped pecans.

Baking

  • Carefully pour the maple mixture over the shortbread base layer.
  • Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. When you insert a toothpick, it should come out clean or with a few shortbread crumbs.
  • Cool the bars completely (in the pan) until the pan is no longer warm to the touch. This will take a few hours.
  • When ready to slice, you can lift the bars out of the pan using the overhang of the parchment and place on a cutting board. Slice with a sharp knife. If you greased the pan, slice in the pan.

Notes

  1. Butter: Using salted butter is fine. 
  2. Maple Syrup: Use real maple syrup - do not use maple flavored pancake syrup.
  3. Tempering the Eggs: The process of slowly combining the whisked eggs and maple mixture is to ensure that the hot maple mixture doesn't cook the eggs and create scrambled eggs.
  4. Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 bar, assuming the pan is sliced into 18 uniform pieces. 
  5. Storage: Store cooled bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 384kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 51mg, Potassium: 123mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 537IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 1mg
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