These rich Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars with Shortbread Crust are full of moist corn syrup-free filling, perfect for Thanksgiving dessert.
The water was clear and dark, and our kayaks slipped through like a warm knife cutting butter. It was unseasonably warm for our Canadian Thanksgiving, warm enough to warrant the use of kayaks on a small, hidden lake.
We passed a floating dock and a number of palatial and aging cottages before gliding back to our rented A-frame cottage. The damp foliage quietly disintegrating in clumps gave way under our sneakers as we climbed the steep staircase to the back porch.
Later, there would be stuffing and roasted meat, washed down with wine and a slice of my naked carrot cake. At the end of the meal over candlelight in the beautifully styled dining room of this fashionable cottage, I’d see my boyfriend’s face over Skype, wishing him a happy Thanksgiving while he was 1,500 kilometres away.
Thanksgiving. If you’re anything like me, pecan pie ignites the memory of Thanksgivings. Usually a lacklustre holiday for me, last year’s was a wonderful weekend away in Quebec at a rented cottage with my parents. While we didn’t have pecan pie—or these Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars—I sure wish we did.
For the uninitiated, these squares are the product of the beautiful marriage of pecan pie and chocolate. What’s even better is that while I love to scrape my fork into a ‘real’ pecan pie, I’m slightly wary of the amount of corn syrup, eggs and sugar in one.
With these Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars, you don’t have to worry. Processed dates and a small amount of pure maple syrup replace the corn syrup, while there’s only 1/4 cup brown sugar. Is it a Pinterest concoction made entirely of plants and the hope that no one has tastebuds? Nope. It’s lightened up—you keep the tastes you love while lowering the fat and sugar you take in. Compromise.
Sink your teeth in to one of these bars and be with the ones you love. You won’t regret it.
Check out CK on Instagram! If you try out one of my recipes, tag @CrumbKitchen so I can see your delicious creations. 🙂
Total Cost = $6.17 (Budget breakdown below recipe)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup cold salted butter, chopped small
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup pitted dried dates (about 15)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup pecan pieces/halves
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Line an 8x8 baking pan with aluminum foil, letting excess foil hang over the sides. Spray lightly with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, corn starch, confectioners' sugar and salt. Add the cold butter and mix with your hands until it resembles coarse meal with pea-sized pieces of butter.
- Spread mixture into prepared pan and press down evenly with the back of a spoon. Place pan in the refrigerator for 15 mins. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- After 15 minutes in the refrigerator, bake crust in preheated oven for 13-14 minutes (keep oven on). Let cool for 5 minutes, then place in refrigerator to finish cooling.
- In a food processor, add all filling ingredients except for ½ cup of the pecan pieces and the chocolate chips. Process until dates and the other ½ cup pecan pieces are broken down and mixture becomes a thick liquid.
- Remove crust from the refrigerator and scatter the ½ cup chocolate chips evenly over the crust. Pour filling over top to cover and scatter the remaining ½ cup pecan pieces on top.
- Bake in preheated oven for 32-35 minutes or until centre is slightly soft when pressed. Let cool for 20 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil and let sit at room temperature 8 hours, or overnight. Cut into squares and serve.
Filling heavily adapted from Betty Crocker and shortbread from my Sky-High Shortbread Macaroon Bars.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour = $0.09
1/4 cup corn starch = $0.09
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar = $0.12
1/4 tsp. salt = $0.01
1/2 cup cold salted butter = $0.43
1/4 cup brown sugar = $0.12
1/2 cup pitted dried dates = $1.00
1/4 cup pure maple syrup = $0.48
1 tsp. vanilla = $0.07
1/4 tsp. salt = $0.01
3 eggs = $0.45
1 cup pecan pieces/halves = $2.50
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips = $0.80
Why it’s Cheap
These (slightly) lightened-up Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars forgo the scary amount of eggs, butter, sugar and corn syrup in usual bars, which saves you some cash on expensive dairy.
Make it More Budget-Friendly
This recipe has swapped out as much expensive ingredients as possible without making the bars taste like sawdust, so there’s not much more you can do to save! If you’re not keen on pecans, you can forgo the 1/2 cup used to top the bars.