Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars — You’ll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!
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.
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.
The chocolate pecan 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 these 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.
Then I sprinkled on Trader Joe’s roasted salted pecans and chocolate chips. 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 2 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.
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.
What’s in Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars?
To make these easy pecan pie bars, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Roasted salted pecans
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Light brown sugar
- Heavy whipping cream
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Chocolate Pecan Bars
Make the crust, then press into the bottom of a foil-lined 8×8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the pecans and chocolate chips evenly over the crust.
Then, make the caramel sauce. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and whipping cream, then microwave until melted. Whisk in the vanilla and salt, then pour over the crust.
Bake the bars until the caramel is bubbling vigorously around the edges, with bubbling to a lesser degree in center.
How to Store Pecan Pie Bars
The chocolate pecan bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Can I Double This Recipe?
I haven’t tried this myself, but readers have reported success doubling the ingredients and baking the bars in a 9×13-inch pan.
Tips for Making Pecan Pie Bars
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.
I recommend baking the 8×8-inch dish on top of a cookie sheet as insurance against overflow. You do NOT want to clean hardened caramel off the bottom of your oven, trust me!
Note that you must let the bars cool for three hours before slicing into them. I know it’s tempting to cut into them while they’re warm, but you need to give them time to set up.
Pin This Recipe
- 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
- 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
Make the Crust:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. I strongly urge lining the pan with foil for easier cleanup.
- 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.
- Turn mixture out into prepared pan and pack down firmly with a spatula or hands to create an even, uniform, flat crust layer.
Make the Filling:
- Evenly sprinkle the pecans over the crust.
- Evenly sprinkle with the chocolate chips; set pan aside.
- 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.
- Remove bowl from micro, and whisk until mixture is smooth; it’s okay if butter hasn’t completely melted.
- Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 minute on high power.
- Remove bowl from micro, and whisk until mixture is smooth.
- Whisk in the vanilla and salt.
- Slowly and evenly pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips and pecans.
- 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.
Storage: Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 347Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 110mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 2g
More Pecan Desserts:
Salted Caramel Maple Pecan Pie Bars— This pecan pie bars recipe is a fast, one-bowl, no-mixer recipe, but the bars taste like you slaved over them. So much easier than making pecan pie!
Buttery Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies — The cookies are super soft, buttery, full of rich pumpkin flavor and there are plenty of pecans in every bite!
Soft Praline Pumpkin Bars (with Cake Mix!) — SUPER soft pumpkin bars studded with chocolate chips, candied pecans, and plenty of pumpkin pie spice!! A FAST and EASY dessert that feeds a crowd for your fall and winter celebrations!!
Salted Caramel Candied Pecan Carmelitas — Biting through the layers of the chewy oatmeal crust, the chocolate chips, the crunchy pecans, the salty-and-sweet caramel sauce that’s gooey and wonderful, and the crisp topping is pure heaven.
The Best Turtle Brownies — Super fudgy brownies and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! An easy, no-mixer recipe that can be made with homemade or store-bought caramel sauce!
Sea Salt Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies – Super soft, perfectly chewy, SALTY-AND-SWEET chocolate chip pecan cookies that are AMAZING!! An EASY, one-bowl, no-mixer recipe!!
Homemade Turtles — The Turtles are no-bake, easy, ready in under a half hour, and you only need 4 ingredients. Save the recipe for holiday candy-making, birthdays, or for a last-minute hostess gift!