Queenie Cooks: EASY Shortbread Pecan Pie Bars

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: March 2, 2019 | 8:05 a.m.

This is one of my most-requested desserts – both for the recipe and for “Could you please bring some of those wonderful Shortbread Pecan Pies over for…?” Fill in the blank. I remember when I discovered – ok, and slightly tweaked – this recipe a few years ago.  I thought, “Sounds like they’d be pretty good.”  Well, they’re not. They’re fabulous!  Seriously.  

Here’s the thing: I love pecan pie.  I always have.  After Fried Chicken, it may be the number one Southern go-to comfort food. I love pecan anything, for that matter. I have fond memories of running out and picking them up from among the crunchy leaves when I was a little girl. And if I close my eyes, I can still see Granddaddy Frank grinning and joking in front of the big old console TV as he would crack them open with his mounted adjustable nutcracker. 

And whether you pronounce it “PEA-cans” like most of native Southerners or “p’cahhhns” like pretty much the rest of the world does, they’re just wonderful in anything!   I love experimenting with them in cookies.  What would a Toll House cookie be without pecans?  I love decorating with them on cakes and slipping a few into cobblers, And they add such a nice, extra crunch to salads, too!  But I do think most folks would consider the crowning achievement in the world of pecans has always been pecan pie. I know my Mama makes a wonderful one!  But today, I’m sharing something that really will give anybody’s (except Mama’s, of course!) pecan pie a run for their money.

Okay, these Pecan Pie Squares may never completely replace the traditional pies, but here’s the thing: I don’t like making pie crusts.  And, yes, some of the ready-made, unfold-and-put-in-your-pie-plate ones actually aren’t bad, but they’re still kind of messy.  Not these little jewels. You just mix and press the shortbread crust in the bottom of your 9×13 pan, bake it a few minutes, pour on the topping, bake that, and wow!  

Seriously, they’re easy easy easy to put together.  And because you make them in a big, rectangular 9 x 13 pan rather than those round, tricky ones you can easily cut them into dainty 1” squares and put them on Grandma’s Crystal (or silver) cake plates for parties OR cut bigger squares for after dinner with the family.  They even make great finger food for snacks with no extra plates to wash, Plus the topping doesn’t cook down into the crust and leave you with a soggy mess. (Tell the truth; if you’ve made pecan pies, haven’t you seen at least one do that?  I have!) 

And here’s my favorite part.  You know how some pecan pies are just TOO sweet?  Well – drum roll – not only does this recipe back away from that over-sweet taste, it includes just a hint of chocolate! There’s not enough that the pecan pie taste is overshadowed. It’s just enough to augment the nutty goodness, and keep the sweetness level JUST right!

But fair warning: you’re supposed to let it cool and then chill and THEN cut it but I had to nibble a corner. OHHHHHHHH my! It may not look very fancy, but trust me.  This one is worth it for the Shortbread Crust alone, and the pecan pie topping? HEAVENLY!

Shortbread Pecan Pie Bars 

TIME:  Prep: 10 min, Bake: 35 min. + chilling
MAKES:  24 servings
YIELD:  4 dozen.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 package (8 ounces) milk chocolate English toffee bits
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press firmly onto the bottom of a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat the milk, egg, vanilla and salt until smooth. Stir in toffee bits and pecans; spread evenly over baked crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Cool. Cover and chill; cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

Look for Queenie Cooks every week online and in the Sussex Surry Dispatch and other local papers  for food-related recipes, stories, information, and fun.  You never know what Queenie may be cooking up, but you can always count on at least one great recipe to try at home, generally for something you can prepare quickly, easily, and with just a  few, common ingredients. Hey!   We all have to eat. Let’s have some FUN with it!

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