Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

I normally don’t like nuts in desserts, but I recant everything I’ve ever said after these.

They’re some of the best bars I’ve ever made.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

To top it off, I don’t even really like pecan pie but the inspiration for the bars started after trying a rich, buttery, chewy caramel with nuts from See’s Candies, and I’ve always loved their chocolate-coated walnut chews.

The pecan pie bars combine rich, gooey, homemade salted caramel filling with chocolate, there’s texture and crunch from the nuts, and the soft, tender shortbread crust is the perfect base for it all.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

The bars are thick, rich, decadent, filling, salty-and-sweet. They’re wonderfully satisfying, easy, no mixer is necessary and I always prefer making pie bars to actual pie. So much easier.

To make the shortbread crust, I used the same crust I created for The Best Lemon Bars and Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars. A bit of cornstarch keeps the crust tender enough so when you bite down, it isn’t rock hard, nor does it give way and crumble.

The crust is hearty enough to stand up to a literal pound of nuts, chocolate, and salted caramel sauce, while staying perfectly flaky and not tasting too dense or heavy.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

Then I sprinkled on Trader Joe’s roasted salted pecans and chocolate chips. If your pecans are raw, toast them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400F oven for added flavor and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Making the salted caramel sauce is as easy as melting together butter, cream, brown sugar, and stirring in vanilla and salt. So easy and it’s done in the microwave in two minutes.

As the bars bake, the caramel sauce thickens and the finished bars are more caramely than traditional pecan pie filling, which I call ‘pie goo’. The bars have some goo, but there’s plenty of luscious, drippy, salted caramel.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

The bars aren’t overly sweet, but they are ridiculously rich. They are worth all the cardio you’ll need to do.

They are good enough to forever change my mind about nuts in desserts and pecan pie.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

 Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

Print Print Recipe

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

The bars are one of my all-time favorites, even if you're not a huge pecan pie fan. They're thick, rich, decadent, filling, salty-and-sweet. The pecans add amazing texture, crunch, and are a great contrast to the soft, tender shortbread crust, homemade salted caramel sauce, and chocolate. The bars are wonderfully satisfying, easy, no mixer is necessary, and are easier than making pie. I used roasted salted pecans and if yours are raw, toast them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400F oven for enhanced flavor and sprinkle with a pinch of salt before using them in the recipe. While the bars bake, the easy caramel sauce made in the microwave thickens and the finished bars are loaded with luscious, drippy, salted caramel.

Yield: one 8-by-8-inch pan, 9 to 12 very generous squares

Prep Time: 20 mintues

Cook Time: about 30 to 32 minutes

Total Time: about 4+ hours, for cooling and setting up

Ingredients:

Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft (1 stick)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch salt, optional and to taste
Filling
8 ounces roasted salted pecans, halves or pieces okay; about 2 cups (I used Trader Joe's roasted salted halves)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. I strongly urge lining the pan with foil for easier cleanup.
  2. Crust - In a large bowl, combine all crust ingredients and using two forks or your hands (I find hands easier), cut butter into dry ingredients until evenly distributed and pea-sized lumps and sandy bits form. The softer the butter is, the quicker and easier it is.
  3. Turn mixture out into prepared pan and pack down firmly with a spatula or hands to create an even, uniform, flat crust layer.
  4. Filling - Evenly sprinkle the pecans.
  5. Evenly sprinkle with the chocolate chips; set pan aside.
  6. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, whipping cream, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
  7. Remove bowl from micro, and whisk until mixture is smooth; it's okay if butter hasn't completely melted.
  8. Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 minute on high power.
  9. Remove bowl from micro, and whisk until mixture is smooth.
  10. Whisk in the vanilla and salt.
  11. Slowly and evenly pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips and pecans.
  12. Place pan on a cookie sheet (as insurance against overflow) and bake for about 30 to 32 minutes, or until caramel is bubbling vigorously around edges, with bubbling to a lesser degree in center. Allow bars to cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 3 hours, or overnight (cover with a piece of foil and/or put pan inside large Ziplock), before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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105 Responses to “Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars”

  1. #
    51
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — July 2, 2014 at 7:56 am

    these bars are the perfect example of something I wouldn’t have thought I liked a few years ago but, now that I know better, I’m all like *droooooool* must. have!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 2nd, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Feel the same was as you do – tastes DO change even as an adult!

      Reply

  2. #
    52
    Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking — July 4, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Oh Averie, I wish I could meet you in real life! First you’re speaking my language with your salsa, now you’re talking about how you don’t like nuts in desserts… Me either!! I always pick nuts out of brownies, and usually cookies too. I’d rather eat them plain by themselves or in a salad. I want my cookies soft and chewy, no strange hard things in the middle! ;) But if you said these changed your mind forever about nuts in desserts, they must be out of this world!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 5th, 2014 at 12:38 am

      They were crazy good and totally DID change my mind about nuts in desserts!

      Reply

  3. #
    53
    Tracy | Pale Yellow — July 5, 2014 at 7:09 am

    These look amazing! Totally pinned!

    Reply

  4. #
    54
    laurel @wannacomewith — July 12, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I have no words – this just looks insanely delicious. I won’t be making this until the weather cools off (ugh, so hot), but I’m definitely making this some day. Pinned.

    Reply

  5. #
    55
    Renee — July 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    I was excited to see this recipe, but sorry to say it was a flop for me. The caramel during baking turned out odd, (I followed instructions to the T) the crust didn’t bake through, the foil stuck and it tore the bottom up even more trying to peel it off. Perhaps if I ever try this again I’ll pre-bake the crust, then just proceed like a traditional pecan pie and use chocolate chips & skip the caramel part. I really wanted to love this.

    Reply

  6. #
    56
    lindsay — August 21, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Just made these, fantastic! Though next time I will use more chocolate. Also, for easier clean up – prepare the crust right in the baking pan!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — August 21st, 2014 at 9:24 am

      Oh you’re a girl after my own heart…MORE chocolate :) Glad you they turned out fantastic for you!

      Reply

  7. #
    57
    Yas — September 25, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Just found your website through Pinterest and now I know that you’re the cause of all the most delicious looking treats all over Pinterest! Quick question about making the caramel – Could it be done in a double boiler instead of the microwave?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 25th, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Yes probably but I haven’t tried that method. I love my micro for stuff like this and almost never double boil things so can’t speak to the duration/time needed, etc.

      And thanks for the compliments and glad you found me!!

      Reply

  8. #
    58
    Brianna — September 28, 2014 at 6:53 am

    I was baking for a large crowd where a couple people had dietary restrictions so I subbed coconut oil for the butter, coconut cream for the heavy cream, gf flour for the regular flour, and used ghiradelli’s semisweet chocolate chips to make these vegan and gluten free and they were incredible!!! SO yummy! They were a huge hit :)

    Thanks for a great (and easy!!) recipe!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 28th, 2014 at 6:55 am

      So impressed that you made them vegan and GF and that using coconut oil and coc cream, and GF flour, all worked out great for you and you’re happy! That’s wonderful to hear! Thanks for the feedback that those substitutions work since others will likely see this in the comments!

      Reply

  9. #
    59
    Mary — September 30, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    So I need to make these but need to know if you have ever doubled the recipe? I know sometimes you can’t just double everything so I want to check first.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — September 30th, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      I’ve never personally doubled these but I think you’re safe. Good to check though because yes you’re right, you can’t always just double!

      Reply

  10. #
    60
    AK — October 4, 2014 at 5:52 am

    These bars are delish! I just shared the recipe on my blog. YUM!

    http://www.thesilverbird.com/salted-caramel-and-chocolate-pecan-pie-bars/

    Reply

  11. #
    61
    Kevin+|+keviniscooking — October 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Holy Smokes! Averie you kill me with these incredible photos and the desserts themselves. These look so worth the extra miles on the bike I’ll need to pedal when I make these!

    Reply

  12. #
    62
    Laura — October 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I just made these bars this morning and they are fantastic! The shortbread crust is so buttery, and it’s got such a flaky texture (maybe from the corn starch?) I’d never guess it wasn’t pie crust. The filling is gooey but holds its shape, and without eggs it’s so smooth; there’s no gumminess at all like in most pecan pie fillings. I’m also thrilled that there’s no corn syrup in the recipe. This rich and delicious dessert may just replace pecan pie in my holiday lineup!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 16th, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      So glad you loved them and that the crust had you fooled. Yes I think it is the cornstarch! And that you liked the filling, sans eggs and sans corn syrup. I know, I thought of all this too when I was creating these because I am so picky about all that stuff too! Glad it could possibly replace pecan pie in your lineup, too – way easier right!

      Reply

  13. #
    63
    Chris Garrison — October 20, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    What am I doing wrong? I have tried this recipe twice and my sister has tried it once and the crust just falls apart. That being said the pecan filling is just delicious. Help! I want this recipe to work out.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 20th, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      I’m sorry your crust isn’t holding. Maybe try reducing the flour by 1/4 cup and see if that works, and then sprinkle in as needed, if you need more. So many people have commented they’ve made them successfully and I haven’t had any issues and this is an extremely standard/basic shortbread crust. I use King Arthur brand all-purpose flour (it’s the BEST, try it…that could be it…your flour could have less gluten and therefore less ‘sticking’ power…just trying to think of everything….) C&H sugar and Trader Joe’s butter.

      Reply

  14. #
    64
    kaileesmom — November 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Has anyone tried just adding more nuts and not doing the chocolate? I will try the chocolate recipe too, but I have some people that just want a traditional pecan pie taste.

    Reply

  15. #
    65
    Hh — November 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Can these be made ahead and frozen until needed?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 15th, 2014 at 10:30 pm

      Probably but I haven’t personally tested it.

      Reply

  16. #
    66
    Sandra — November 18, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I am confused on the amount of pecans to use since 8 oz is 1 cup. Then it says 2 cups so is it 1 or 2 cups?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 18th, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      8 ounces isn’t always 1 cup; it depends on the item being put into the cup. You want to use 8 ounces, how many ever cups that comes out to. Some nuts are big and clunky and chunky and it’ll take you 2 cups to fit 8 oz. Other nuts are broken down and crumbly and you’ll be able to pack those into a little over a cup. Just depends on the nuts.

      Reply

  17. #
    67
    Maggie — November 20, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Any thoughts about taking the salt out of the caramel sauce, possibly also the pecans? Would they be too sweet or lack enough flavor? My husband isn’t super crazy about salted caramel but loves the caramel-pecan-chocolate combination. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 20th, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      You could use just regular (non-salted caramel sauce) and if it is too sweet or not having enough flavor, you could always sprinkle with sea salt after the fact.

      Reply

  18. #
    68
    Barbi hudson — November 26, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    These sound delicious. You have a link to a different salted caramel sauce than what is in your recipe. Which do you prefer.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 26th, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      I just took out that link; definitely follow the recipe for these, as it’s written in the recipe section and you’ll be good to go!

      Reply

  19. #
    69
    Julie — November 27, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    These were really easy to make, and they looked and smelled great. Unfortunately the crust layer didn’t set at all. I couldn’t cut them into bars. They were to be served at Thanksgiving, so that was a big disappointment. I scooped out some with a spoon to eat and it tasted more or less like I ate a spoonful of pecans and chocolate chips. Needless to say I won’t be making this again. :(

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 27th, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      I’m sorry that the crust didn’t set up for you. I haven’t had that happen, but I’m sorry you did.

      Reply

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