Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars

We adapted this recipe from America's Test Kitchen to include a bittersweet chocolate drizzle, a little counterbalance to the sweet pecan filling. The Bourbon (or rum if you prefer), also helps cut the sweetness.

We toasted nuts to intensify their flavor. It gives it just the right amount of chocolate, without being over powering. But if you want to be hit over the head with chocolate, go for it - you can drizzle as much as you'd like over the top! This recipe has it all....ooey-gooey filling packed with pecans, the star of the show, a buttery crust  and the chocolate drizzle. What's not to love? 



Pecan Filling


Toast all of the pecans for the recipe (2 ¼ cups) on a rimmed baking sheet in a 350-degree oven until fragrant (about 8 minutes), stirring once. Assemble the pecan filling while the crust bakes. Once the crust is lightly browned, spread the filling on top and continue baking. Because of their high sugar content, pecan bars store well and taste great up to 5 days after baking. While we liked bourbon the best, dark rum is quite good. For a very boozy tasting bar cookie, add another tablespoon of liquor.

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise to measure 9 inches wide. Following illustrations 1 and 2 below, fit 1 sheet in bottom of greased pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan (overhang will help in removal of baked bars). Fit second sheet in pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

Place flour, brown sugar, pecans, salt, and baking powder in food processor. Process mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal, about five 1-second pulses. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles sand, about eight 1-second pulses. Pat mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake until crust is light brown and springs back when touched, about 20 minutes.

For the pecan filling: While crust bakes, whisk together brown sugar, melted butter, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until just combined. Add egg and whisk until incorporated.

Pour filling on top of hot crust and sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Bake until top is brown and cracks start to form across surface, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Remove bars from pan using foil or parchment handles and transfer to cutting board. 

Melt Bittersweet chocolate bar and drizzle across top of bars. Let cool.

Cut into bars that measure 1 1/2 inches by 2 1/4 inches & enjoy!