Caramel Pecan Bars are the ultimate indulgence for lovers of caramel and pecans. These sweet, nutty bars are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth and adding a touch of elegance to your dessert table. Whether you're hosting a special occasion or simply craving a decadent treat, these bars are sure to impress.
I grew up and knew we were heading into the holidays when my mom would start baking these bars. She would always have me help, and I enjoyed being able to snack on them at the end! These are fun, easy fall dessert recipe.
Can I use salted butter for the crust?
It's best to use unsalted butter for the crust to control the saltiness of the bars. If you only have salted butter, reduce the added salt in the crust by half.
I personally always use salted butter in my recipes and never reduce the amount of salt because I love salty flavors. It is up to you and your preference.
What kind of pecans should I use?
You can use either whole or chopped pecans for this recipe. It's a matter of personal preference, but whole pecans add an appealing look to the bars.
Can I use dark corn syrup instead of light corn syrup?
Yes, you can use dark corn syrup if you prefer. It will result in a slightly different flavor but will work well in this recipe.
Do I need a candy thermometer to make the caramel?
A candy thermometer is not required for this recipe. Simply follow the instructions to simmer the caramel for 5 minutes after it comes to a boil.
How do I prevent the caramel from sticking to the pan?
Stirring constantly while making the caramel and using a non-stick saucepan can help prevent sticking. Additionally, you can lightly grease the saucepan before starting.
Can I add a sprinkle of salt on top for a salted caramel version?
Absolutely! After pouring the caramel pecan mixture over the crust, you can sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top for a delightful salted caramel twist.
How long should I let the bars cool before cutting them?
Allow the bars to cool in the pan until they reach room temperature, usually about 1-2 hours. This ensures that the caramel sets properly.
Can I make these bars in advance for an event?
Yes, you can make these bars a day or two ahead of your event. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
What's the best way to store leftover Caramel Pecan Bars?
Store any leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days to maintain their freshness.
Can I freeze Caramel Pecan Bars for later?
Yes, you can freeze these bars. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, place them in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
Caramel Pecan Bars
- 9x13-inch baking pan
- Parchment paper
- Mixing bowls
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
For Caramel Pecan Layer:
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang for easy removal.
- Make the Crust:In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Add the cold, cubed butter and use a pastry cutter or fork to cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
- Prepare the Caramel Pecan Layer:In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, granulated sugar, and corn syrup together. Stir constantly and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Simmer the Caramel:Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. It should become a rich golden caramel.
- Add Pecans and Vanilla:Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the pecan halves and vanilla extract until the pecans are well coated.
- Pour Over the Crust:Pour the caramel pecan mixture evenly over the crust in the baking pan.
- Bake:Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the caramel is bubbling and the edges are golden brown.
- Cool and Set:Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. The caramel will set as it cools.
- Cut Into Bars:Once fully cooled and set, use the parchment paper overhang to lift the bars out of the pan. Place them on a cutting board and cut into squares or rectangles.
- Serve and Enjoy:
These Caramel Pecan Bars combine the rich flavors of caramel and the buttery crunch of pecans to create a sweet and nutty delight. Whether shared with loved ones or enjoyed solo, they are sure to become a favorite treat.