Pecan Bars

I have to admit I am not typically a huge fan of nuts in desserts (at all) but these pecan bars are irresistible. One bar is basically a pecan pie in a single serving, plus there is a slight citrus undertone which cuts the sweetness. Sounds odd but works. This recipe makes an enormous number of bars – a whole sheet-pan – so bring to a huge party or plan to give away to friends. They keep wrapped well in the fridge for up to a week (!) – another bonus.

Pecan Bars (adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten)- click here for printable recipe.


For the crust:

1 1/4 pounds butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

1 pound butter

1 cup honey

3 cups brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/4 cup heavy dream

2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the crust, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 x 12 x 1 inch baking sheet, pushing the dough up the sides slightly to form an edge. Flour your hands and the dough when pressing the dough into pan – it will be sticky. Bake 15 minutes, until crust is set but not browned. Let cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted. Turn up heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add heavy cream and pecans. Pour all but about a cup of the topping over the crust – if you use it all, it may drip over the sides of the pan into your oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until filling is set. Let cool, wrap tightly,and refrigerate until ready to serve – they will keep up to a week.

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