These chewy bars are the perfect dessert for a potluck Thanksgiving! And you don’t have to stress about getting the first slice out! These bars start with a pumpkin butter-infused crust, toasty pecans, a layer of dark chocolate, traditional pecan pie filling, and a swirl of homemade salted caramel! The result — a perfect balance of flavors and textures that all of your guests are sure to love.
Note: This recipe makes a lot of bars (60 or more!!), and can easily be split in half. Use a half sheet pan for the full batch, (or 2 9"x13” pans) and a 9"x13” pan for a half batch. Either way, the pan needs to have a lip or sides so the filling doesn’t spill out.
Start by making my homemade salted caramel sauce. This can be made ahead, as much as 1 month. You only need 1 cup of sauce for this recipe, so you will have a little extra … which is not a bad thing!
Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
Ingredients (makes 60+ bars; half the recipe for 30)
For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour (13.5 oz)
½ cup almond or sesame flour (2oz
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks, 8oz)
½ cup pumpkin butter or puree (5 oz)
1/3 cup sugar (2.5oz)
1/3 cup brown sugar (3oz)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (5.5oz)
For the filling:
½ cup maple syrup (5oz)
½ cup brown rice syrup (or corn syrup, or honey) (5oz)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (8oz)
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup all-purpose flour (2oz)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (divided)
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans (11oz)
1 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks (6.5oz)
1. If using premade homemade salted caramel, set it out to come to room temperature. Or, go ahead and make that caramel sauce and set aside.
2. Heat oven to 350°F.
3. Line a half sheet pan (or 9”x13”) with parchment, letting some of the parchment over hang the sides of the pan.
4. Make the crust: Combine flours, cinnamon, butter, pumpkin puree, sugars, cinnamon, salt, and orange zest in the bowl of a mixer. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until mixture comes together.
5. Press crust mixture evenly onto bottom of lined baking pan, letting crust creep up the sides of the pan just a bit. Sprinkle 1 cup of chopped pecans over the top of the crust and gently press down into the dough. Bake on the middle rack for 18–22 minutes or until edges are very light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. (Note: This step can be done a day ahead!)
6. While the crust is baking, combine all filling ingredients (syrups, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, ½ teaspoon salt) in a bowl, and mix well; set aside. (Set pecans, chocolate, ½ teaspoons salt and caramel sauce aside for just a moment).
7. Once crust has cooled, top with chocolate chips/chunks. Pour prepared filling over chocolate in an even layer. Pour caramel sauce in a zig zag pattern over filling; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon sea salt. Avoid mixing or leveling, as when baked, the caramel sauce makes little puddles of gooey chewy caramel!
8. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until filling is set and a knife inserted in the middle comes out relatively clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or freeze for 30 minutes) before cutting.
9. Cut into bars — have some fun and think triangles, long rectangles, or cut into 1”x1” squares for mini desserts. For an added chocolate kick, drizzle with melted dark chocolate and another ¼ teaspoon of coarse salt.
xo Marisa (The Radical Cupcake)