Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars Recipe

Pecan pie, with its rich, buttery filling and crunchy pecan topping, is an enduring favorite for seasonal celebrations, particularly in the autumn and winter months. Its warm, sweet flavors, often enhanced with a hint of vanilla or bourbon, make it a perfect dessert for festive gatherings, as it offers a comforting homespun charm. For beginner bakers, attempting pecan pie as a slab pie or bar cookies is an excellent and easier alternative to the traditional version. Baking the pecan pie mixture in a sheet pan simplifies the process, as it removes the challenge of shaping and crimping the edges. 

This method also yields more servings, making it ideal for larger groups. The slab pie's shallower depth allows for a more even cooking of the filling, reducing the risk of undercooked centers or overcooked edges. Recipe developer Taylor Murray brings us this straightforward and delicious pecan pie that's infused with a generous hint of Kentucky bourbon to elevate the flavors of the toasted pecans and dark corn syrup.

Gather the ingredients for bourbon pecan bars

First, the dough for this pecan pie recipe is more akin to a pate sucree than a pate brisee, meaning there is more sugar as well as added egg yolk. These ingredients make the dough easier to work with so you can patch and fill pieces to ensure full coverage on the sheet tray. The dough uses all-purpose flour, unsalted butter, and salt as the base ingredients, along with a hint of apple cider vinegar to keep it flaky.

The filling is a fairly standard pecan pie filling. In addition to toasted pecans, the filling is made of two kinds of sugar, eggs, dark corn syrup, melted butter, and a heavy dose of vanilla and bourbon. The amount of bourbon in this recipe means that the flavor comes through strong, so if you don't love it consider halving the amount.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Step 2: Toast the pecans

Place pecans on a dry sheet tray and toast until aromatic and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients

Add flour, ¾ cup sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once to combine.

Step 4: Pulse in the butter

Add cubed butter and pulse until the butter breaks down to small pieces the size of peas.

Step 5: Add the yolks and vinegar

Add the egg yolks and vinegar.

Step 6: Pulse in the water

With the motor running, stream in cold water and pulse until a soft dough just forms, being careful not to over process.

Step 7: Transfer the dough to parchment paper

Transfer dough to a piece of parchment paper and top with another piece of parchment paper.

Step 8: Roll out the dough

Roll to ¼ inch thick.

Step 9: Chill the rolled dough

Chill at least one hour.

Step 10: Transfer to a baking sheet

Remove one sheet of parchment paper and turn the rolled dough onto a 13x9-inch baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Step 11: Press the dough into the pan

Press the dough into the corners and up the edges.

Step 12: Trim the dough

Trim and move the dough around as needed for full coverage.

Step 13: Chill the dough

Chill for 20 minutes while your oven preheats to 375 F.

Step 14: Combine the butter and syrup

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together ¾ cup melted butter and corn syrup.

Step 15: Add the eggs and sugar

Whisk in 4 eggs, then brown sugar and 5 tablespoons granulated sugar.

Step 16: Add the vanilla and salt

Add in vanilla, bourbon, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt.

Step 17: Line the dough with pie weights

Line the chilled dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans.

Step 18: Blind bake the crust

Blind bake the dough until just set around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and remove weights.

Step 19: Add the pecans

Fill the crust with the toasted pecans.

Step 20: Add the sugar mixture

Pour the egg and sugar mixture over the pecans until the liquid just reaches the edge of the crust (you may not use it all).

Step 21: Bake until set

Carefully transfer the dish to the oven and bake until set, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Step 22: Cool and slice

Remove from oven and let cool before cutting into squares and serving.

Can I use a store-bought crust for these bourbon pecan pie bars?

To simplify this recipe even further, you can use store-bought dough: You'll just have to make a couple of adjustments. To begin with, start by thawing the dough if it's frozen. This makes it more malleable. Next, lightly flour your work surface and a rolling pin, and gently roll out the dough to slightly increase its surface area and maintain a consistent thickness. Since most store-bought dough is round and you're fitting it into a square sheet tray, you'll need to trim the edges of the dough and use these excess pieces to fill in the corners of the tray. Carefully place the dough in the tray, pressing it into the corners and sides, and use any trimmed pieces to patch gaps or thin areas. 

Chill the dough in the tray for about 30 minutes before baking to prevent it from shrinking. Once prepped, continue with your recipe as usual, but keep an eye on the crust during baking, as the thickness of store-bought dough can vary from homemade, potentially altering baking times.

Can I make these bourbon pecan pie bars in advance, and how would I store them?

One of the advantages of this slab pie is that it can be made in advance. After baking, allow your pecan pie to cool completely at room temperature. This prevents condensation from forming inside the storage container, which could make the crust soggy. Once cooled, you can refrigerate the pecan pie. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Pecan pie can be refrigerated for up to four days.

If you need to store the pie for longer, pecan pie freezes well. Wrap the pie tightly with plastic wrap and then again with aluminum foil, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Properly stored, it can last in the freezer for up to two months. You can also opt to prep the dough in advance. Stop just before blind baking and keep the crust in the pan in the freezer. You can blind-bake the pie straight from the freezer, just be sure to add a bit of extra time.

Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars Recipe
5 from 42 ratings
Bourbon pecan pie bars offer all of the sweet, familiar flavor of pecan pie but preparing them is a breeze. The generous hint of bourbon makes them special.
Prep Time
1.5
hours
Cook Time
1.17
hours
Servings
12
Servings
Sweet bourbon pecan pie bars
Total time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole raw pecans
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup plus 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed plus ¾ cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup ice cold water
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup or pure cane syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons bourbon
Directions
  1. ‌Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Place pecans on a dry sheet tray and toast until aromatic and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Add flour, ¾ cup sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once to combine.
  4. Add cubed butter and pulse until the butter breaks down to small pieces the size of peas.
  5. Add the egg yolks and vinegar.
  6. With the motor running, stream in cold water and pulse until a soft dough just forms, being careful not to over process.
  7. Transfer dough to a piece of parchment paper and top with another piece of parchment paper.
  8. Roll to ¼ inch thick.
  9. Chill at least one hour.
  10. Remove one sheet of parchment paper and turn the rolled dough onto a 13x9-inch baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  11. Press the dough into the corners and up the edges.
  12. Trim and move the dough around as needed for full coverage.
  13. Chill for 20 minutes while your oven preheats to 375 F.
  14. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together ¾ cup melted butter and corn syrup.
  15. Whisk in 4 eggs, then brown sugar and 5 tablespoons granulated sugar.
  16. Add in vanilla, bourbon, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
  17. Line the chilled dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dry beans.
  18. Blind bake the dough until just set around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and remove weights.
  19. Fill the crust with the toasted pecans.
  20. Pour the egg and sugar mixture over the pecans until the liquid just reaches the edge of the crust (you may not use it all).
  21. Carefully transfer the dish to the oven and bake until set, about 35 to 45 minutes.
  22. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting into squares and serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 619
Total Fat 35.4 g
Saturated Fat 11.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 118.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 69.4 g
Dietary Fiber 3.2 g
Total Sugars 43.0 g
Sodium 213.3 mg
Protein 7.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe