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  • Mary Kay

Bourbon Brownie Pecan Pie Bars - a real treat for the Holidays!


I'm saving time and energy this holiday season and making dessert bars instead of cookies. Bars take much less time to make than cookies - just whip them up, pour the batter into the pan and bake. Plus, I have less baking pans and other dishes to clean up afterwards!

I'm saving time and energy this holiday season and making dessert bars instead of cookies. Bars take much less time to make than cookies - just whip them up, pour the batter into the pan and bake. Plus, I have less baking pans and other dishes to clean up afterwards!

This is a bar recipe that combines two of our favorite flavors during the holidays – brownies and pecan pie. Mmmm…mmmm…mmm. It’s a nice thick, gooey bar that will definitely quench any chocolate or pecan pie craving you might have. Plus, it’s so easy to make and is a wonderful combination of flavors for the holidays and it freezes nicely so you can make it ahead for family and special events or for workmates.

Pecan pies are a signature dessert during the holidays, and this signals an easier way to have the flavor of the pie without worrying about the crust. The brownie layer serves as a nice thick delicious “crust.” Two of my favorite flavors in one bite.

This recipe makes about 25 delicious chocolatey, nutty, gooey dessert bars. But they are much thicker than many other bars, so cut them on the small side.

Normally many bar recipes made in a 9”x 9” baking pan will yield about 16 good sized bars by cutting four rows in one direction and four more rows in the other direction. But due to their richness and thickness, you’ll want to cut these in 5x5 rows for a total of 25 delicious Bourbon Brownie Pecan Pie Bars. Or cut them 5 rows by 8 rows for 40 "skinny" bars.

Note: Of course, the bourbon in the brownie and the pecan pie layers is optional, but I find it necessary to achieve the unique flavor in this dessert. It's your choice.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

You will first bake the brownie layer at 350F degrees. Then add the pecan pie layer on top of the brownie layer and bake again at 350F degrees.

Prepare your 9”x 9” baking pan and larger baking pan to set on the lower rack.

- Cover the larger baking sheet (bigger in area than your 9”x 9” baking pan) with aluminum foil and place it on the bottom oven rack in order to catch anything that might drip out during the baking process.

- For this recipe I use my 9”x 9” pan which is about 2” high. This is perfect for these beautiful bars. Sometimes, I substitute my 8”x 8” baking pan for a bar recipe. However, in this case an 8”x 8” pan will not work – it’s just not big enough and tall enough to hold the brownie batter and pecan pie topping. The brownie batter and the pecan pie top layer will just about come to the top of the pan before baking.

- Lightly brush soft butter on the inside bottom and all four sides of the 9”x 9” baking pan.

- Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to cover the entire pan and sides by crisscrossing them. You’ll need enough to extend 2” over all four sides of the pan.

- Place one parchment paper sheet in the pan, allowing the paper to extend 2” over the top edge of the pan on two opposite sides.

- Lightly brush the bottom of the pan again with soft butter, this time on the parchment paper sheet. No need to brush the sides of the parchment paper.

- Place the second sheet of parchment paper in the other direction so this paper also extends 2” over the sides on the remaining two sides.

- Press down on the bottom and all four sides so the parchment paper sticks to the pan in all areas. This makes it much easier to pour the and spread the thick batter in the pan without the paper moving around.

Gather the Brownie Layer Ingredients:

4 Eggs

1 ¼ C Cocoa Powder

1 T Vanilla extract

1 t Salt

1 t Baking powder

2 t Espresso powder

1 C Butter, melted

2 ¼ C Sugar

1 ½ C Flour

1 C Chocolate chips, semi-sweet

Gather the Pecan Pie Layer Ingredients:

¾ C Brown sugar

½ C Corn syrup, light

4 T Butter, melted

1 T Vanilla extract

½ t Salt

2 Eggs

1 T Bourbon

3 ¼ C Pecans, rough chopped (toasted, optional)

½ C Chocolate chips, mini, semi-sweet

Make and bake the brownie layer first:

- With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, baking powder and espresso powder until combined, about 2 minutes and set aside. This is a strong batter at this point, but I use my electric hand mixer which does the job. If it was a larger recipe, I would use my larger electric stand mixer since the batter is so thick.

- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and stir the sugar into it until it mostly dissolves, about 2 minutes.

- Make sure the butter mixture is fairly cool before adding it to the egg mixture so the eggs don't cook. Beat for a couple minutes, until it is combined and has a shiny gloss to it.

- Stir in the chocolate chips.

- Pour the batter into the parchment paper lined pan.

- Bake at 350F degrees for 30-35 minutes.

- Set on a rack until until your pecan pie layer is ready to add on top.

Prepare the Pecan Pie Layer:

- Roast the pecans for a few minutes in a low heated oven, about 200F degrees, on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Stir once and watch them closely, but don't allow them to get too brown or burn. It only takes a few minutes. I like the nice rustic flavor roasting the pecans adds to the top layer of the bars. But, of course, roasting them is optional. Rough chop the pecans and set aside until you have the rest of the ingredients combined.

- In a medium bowl, whisk all of the pecan pie layer ingredients together, except the pecans and chocolate chips. Whisk all the items until they are all well combined. Pay special attention to the eggs so they are beaten and evenly distributed. You might even want to beat the eggs first, then add the rest of the items.

- Add the rough chopped pecans and stir until they are all covered.

- Set aside until the brownie layer is done baking.

Pour the pecan pie layer on top and bake again:

- When the brownie layer has baked and been removed from the oven, pour the pecan pie layer on top while it's still warm.

- Spread the pecan pie layer evenly to all the sides and corners of the pan.

- Bake at 350F degrees for another 30-35 minutes.

- Take the dessert out of the oven and sprinkle the mini chocolate chips on top, allowing them to melt. It’s up to you if you want to spread them around or just leave them laying on top.

- Allow the entire pan to cool on a rack for 2-3 hours, before refrigerating.

- Loosen the sides with a knife by inserting the knife between the big bar and the parchment paper before refrigerating. Then, insert the knife between the parchment paper and the side of the pan. This will make it easier when you need to lift the entire dessert out of the pan and then separate the parchment paper from the big bar. I refrigerate the entire dessert for an hour before taking them out of the pan to cut.

- To cut the bars, lift them out of the pan using the extended parchment paper ends. Place on a cutting board and pull the parchment paper apart from the sides. They may be sticky. With a sharp knife, cut the bars in 5 rows x 5 rows, producing 25 nice sized bars. Or, cut them 5 rows by 8 rows for a total of 40 delicious "skinny" bars.

Serve them as is or with berries and whipped cream:

- Because these Bourbon Brownie Pecan Pie Bars are sweet and nutty, bourbon flavored homemade whipped cream and berries are a nice complement for a special dessert.

- Of course, plain homemade whipped cream or store-bought whipped cream topping is delicious, too.


- I’m not sure anyone will be worried about storing this Bourbon Brownie Pecan Pie. Since it’s such a scrumptious dessert it will probably be gone before you have a chance to freeze any. - However, in case you want to make and bake them well ahead of time for a special event, go ahead and freeze them.

- Be sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then in an airtight container. I like to cut them into individual bars after I’ve refrigerated to firm up the dessert. Then wrap the pieces individually in plastic wrap. I double wrap and then place into an airtight container and label it with the freeze date. Then they go in the freezer. I usually keep them up to a month. Some people keep them in the freezer longer.

- To thaw, take out of the freezer and place the entire container in the refrigerator overnight before unwrapping. I like to place them on a serving platter while their still cool. Then set out about 30 minutes to an hour before you serve them. They are deliciously gooey when they are at room temperature.

This is a deliciously gooey dessert that answers the cravings for dark chocolate brownies and pecan pie, all in one bite. And, they are so rich that smaller bite sized pieces are enough for any sweet desires you might have. This Bourbon Brownie Pecan Pie Bar will be the hit of any party or family dessert table...and help you “Bake your own Memories!”

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