As you finalize your plans for Thanksgiving this week, let me put one small and undeniably delicious wrinkle in your plans. This "wrinkle" is in the form of a gooey, rich bourbon and chocolate pecan bar with a buttery crust and a hint of cinnamon.
Despite the fact that I love trying out new recipes and experimenting, one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is my family's tradition of a set menu. We all gather at the same place and have the same delicious dinner year after year. Sure, we might change a side dish here or there (and we once recreated our Thanksgiving from an apartment in Rome), but my favorite meal of the year is the one that never materially changes. Tradition is so comforting sometimes (plus I have some amazing cooks in my family). I love our Thanksgivings.
I also love pecan pie. And this recipe. These dense cookie bars are best served cold, the day after baking (in my opinion), with a heavy dollop of whipped cream. The thick crust layer helps the bars hold their shape very well; I think they would also be great on a holiday cookie tray, if you're the type who likes to give food gifts.
Aside: I'm not sure how much I should read into the fact that my husband can wake up and walk into the kitchen to see me with a bottle of bourbon first thing in the morning and not raise an eyebrow.
Bourbon & Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars with a Cinnamon Crust
Adapted from Inquiring Chef
For the crust, you will need:
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 cups all purpose white flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
For the filling, you will need:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- 3 cups pecan halves
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Mix together butter and sugar for two minutes on medium speed, until creamy.
- Add eggs, vanilla, and salt and mix to combine.
- Reduce speed to low and stir in baking powder, flour, and cinnamon. Stir until just mixed.
- Using lightly floured fingers, press dough into two greased 9x9 baking dishes (or two pie dishes). The dough will be sticky. Make sure to press the dough up the sides of the dishes.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.
- While the crust is baking, start on the filling.
- Combine butter, brown sugar, and syrup in a large saucepan on medium-low heat. Stir until butter is melted and texture is even.
- Stir in eggs, salt, bourbon, vanilla, and cinnamon. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, reducing the heat to low.
- Remove from heat and add pecans and chocolate chips.
- Transfer filling to baked crusts. Bake, uncovered, for ~30 minutes, until filling is set.