If you love Pecan Pie, perfectly gooey Brown Sugar Bourbon Maple Pecan Pie Bars are a delicious twist on the classic Thanksgiving dessert! Made with brown butter, the brown sugar shortbread cookie base is soft, buttery, and melts in your mouth. But the real treat is in the pecan pie topping – sweetened with just the right amount of brown sugar, sweet maple syrup, and filled with toasty pecan pieces.
The secret ingredient? Tender tiny bits of sweet medjool dates add a layer of flavor, texture and sweetness that makes for the perfect fall treat. Brown Sugar Bourbon Maple Pecan Pie Bars are perfect for Thanksgiving dessert tables and other special celebrations, or whenever you need a sweet and nutty, buttery pecan pie bar.
TO MAKE BROWN BUTTER IS EASY!
TEMPERING EGGS? NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!
TEMPERING THE EGGS IS KEY! Tempering means you’ll add a hot liquid to the beaten eggs, to prevent them from scrambling. If you add eggs directly to a hot syrup, you'll end up with a scrambled egg mixture - and tempering the eggs will prevent this!
By starting with room temperature eggs and slowly whisking a tiny bit of the hot syrup into the beaten eggs, you are slowly bringing up their temperature – not shocking them.
And then you’ll slowly drizzle and whisk that warm egg mixture into the remaining hot syrup mixture, and you’ll end up with a perfectly silky smooth filling!
Once the bars are out of the oven, let them cool a bit before serving. Or if you’re like me and have no patience at all, wait just a little bit, then slice them up and eat while warm! They’re going to be a little bit messier, but that warm and gooey pecan filling is so worth it! To take these bars to the next level, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt on top right before serving – SO GOOD!
ARE THESE BROWN BUTTER BOURBON MAPLE PECAN PIE BARS REALLY BETTER THAN PECAN PIE?
Without a doubt! And it's fabulous when you can make these ahead of time and have them waiting to serve when company arrives - or you have a secret craving!
Brown Butter Shortbread Crust:
1 cup (230g, 2 sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
Pecan Pie Topping:
½ cup (115g, 1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar (light or dark)
½ cup (120ml) pure maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup!)
2 tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream
2 large eggs (beaten)
1 tablespoon (15ml) bourbon (optional)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup chopped medjool dates
Sea Salt Flakes (to sprinkle on top)
HOW I MAKE THESE:
YIELD: 24 servings
TO MAKE BROWN BUTTER IS EASY! In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, stir frequently and watch closely for the formation of light brown specs on the bottom of the pan and a nutty aroma. Once you see brown specs, stir for just a few more seconds (it browns VERY quickly). Remove from the heat and immediately pour into a different bowl to prevent it from burning. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
BROWN BUTTER: You can substitute unsalted butter for the brown butter.
DARK BROWN SUGAR: You can substitute light brown sugar for the dark brown sugar in this recipe – but I prefer and recommend using dark brown sugar for best flavor and results!
TO TOAST PECANS OR NOT: I’ve made this recipe both ways, and either way is perfect!
TEMPERING THE EGGS IS KEY! Tempering means you’ll add a hot liquid to the beaten eggs, to prevent them from scrambling. If you add the eggs directly to the pan of boiling syrup, you will end up with a scrambled egg mixture. By starting with room temperature eggs and slowly whisking a tiny bit of the hot syrup into the beaten eggs, you are slowly bringing up their temperature – not shocking them. And then you’ll slowly drizzle and whisk that warm egg mixture into the remaining hot syrup mixture. You’ll end up with a perfect silky smooth filling!
GLUTEN FREE PECAN PIE BARS: To make gluten free, use an equal amount of your favorite gluten free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour.
MAKE AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS: These bars freeze well up to 3 months, stored in an airtight container in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before serving.
Original recipe created by Snowflakes & Coffeecakes and posted November 2012; revised and republished November 2022.
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