Thanksgiving is just around the corner. These Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars will become your family’s favorite recipe for years to come!
Two bourbon recipes in a row? Judge me.
My love affair with pecan pie happened in high school. We were visiting my grandfather in Georgia. It still amazes me that he moved to Georgia. He’s a New England boy through and through, hailing from Stratford, CT, pitstopping at Yale, and settling down in the Boston suburbs. Downtown Atlanta was the last place I would’ve guessed for this 70 year old to move to. But, he loves it and power to him.
One night, we had dinner at his friends’ house, which from the road looked like a small ranch, but as soon as you stepped inside went back for miles, eventually ending at a huge screened in patio over a gorgeous sloping garden. These people were the epitome of Southern Hospitality, serving us mountains of food and making us feel warmed and welcomed.
Towards the end of the night we had all retired to the patio, our bellies full and happy. But no dinner party is complete without dessert. And no Georgian dinner party is complete without pie (at least that’s what I think). The hosts brought out a chocolate pecan pie and vanilla ice cream, sat it on the table, and served everyone a big slice.
And that, my friends, was when I fell in love.
The crust soft and cookie-like, the pecans crunchy and salty, the chocolate rich and dark. It. Was. Perfection.
So I asked for the recipe and took it home with me. And guess what? I fucking lost the piece of paper I wrote it on.
So basically from that point on I’ve been trying to recreate this chocolate pecan pie. And you know what? This recipe comes pretty close. The crust is made with cream cheese for an added tanginess and moisture. The filling is made with honey instead of corn syrup, giving it a warm and slightly floral note. And the chocolate? Well, duh. It’s abundant.
Confession: Every time I took a picture of these bars, I’d “restyle” them and a piece would break off. Then I ated it.
For the crust
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup light (or medium) brown sugar
- 2 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the pecan pie filling
- 3/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup light (or medium) brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
- 2 1/2 cups chopped pecans (roasted & salted preferred)
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 8"x8" baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a standing mixer fitted with a beater blade, mix together all of the crust ingredients on medium speed until just combined. At first the mixture will be dry, then pea-sized chunks will begin to form. As soon as the dough comes together, stop mixing. Place into baking pan and pat down dough so it is even throughout the pan. Bake for 10 minutes, until the dough begins to rise and turn the slightest golden brown.
- While the dough is baking, make your pecan pie filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, brown sugar, eggs, butter, salt, vanilla extract, and bourbon (if using). Chop your chocolate and pecans and set everything aside.
- Once the dough has cooked for 10 minutes, remove it from the oven and sprinkle your chopped pecans over the dough. Next, sprinkle the chopped chocolate, tossing it gently with your fingers to combine with the pecans. Pour the sugar mixture over the chocolate and pecans, using a spatula to disperse it evenly.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and place tin foil over your pan. Cook for an additional 10 minutes with the foil. This will help your center to cook while preventing the top from browning!!
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 2 hours in the fridge before cutting into 9 bars and serving!!