One of the most popular desserts in my bakery just happened to be these Caramel Pecan Bars.
You never can tell what recipe is going to be a hit with the masses but let me tell you this one was a slam dunk!
I had customers calling ahead asking to reserve their personal stash, since they knew once we made them they would fly out the door in an instant!
If you want to try a unique spinoff from the traditional Pecan Pie this year, have a go at these luscious caramel pecan bars!
Ooey, gooey caramel pecan filling baked on top of a thick buttery shortbread base!
So easy to make and even easier to eat!
I prefer to use earth balance buttery stick for this recipe, but if I can only find margarine, I like to cut out 1 Tbs as I found it can get slightly "greasy" with an "oily" margarine brand.
**NOTE:: There is an error in my Modern Vegan Baking Cookbook for this recipe. For the shortbread base it says 2¾ cups of flour is 220g- this should read 345g
- For the Shortbread Cookie Base:
- COLD Vegan Butter - diced 1¼ cup (280g) *see note above
- Granulated Sugar ¾ cup (150g)
- All Purpose Flour 2¾ cup (345g)
- Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon (5ml)
- For the Caramel Pecan Filling:
- Vegan Butter ¾ cup (170g)
- Vegan Honey, Golden Syrup Or Corn Syrup 1 cup (237ml)
- Light Brown Sugar 1½ cup (310g)
- Granulated Sugar ⅓ cup (67g)
- Plant Milk *soy milk works best when cooking at such high temperatures ⅓ cup (80ml)
- Pecan Halves or Pieces *NOT TOASTED 2½ cups (300g)
- Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon (5ml)
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Prepare a 9"x13" baking pan with professional bakery pan grease & a parchment paper cut to fit. *I did not do this in the video, but you can also make the parchment paper drape over the sides of the pan and this will help with the un-molding of the entire bar later.
- First prepare the shortbread base by combining the flour & sugar together in a mixing bowl.
- Add the salt if using & blend to mix well.
- Add the cold diced vegan butter and blend on low speed until it resembles course meal.
- Add the vanilla extract and continue mixing until it starts to come together but it is still crumbly.
- You can grab a handful and see if it stays together in your hands and you will know it is done.
- Turn the crumbly shortbread dough into the prepared pan and press it firmly into the bottom & sides.
- Bake in a preheated 305°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until it is started to get golden brown.
- Meanwhile prepare the pecan filling by combing the vegan honey, both sugars and the vegan butter in a heavy bottom6 qt sauce pot.
- Cook over medium to high heat while stirring often to dissolve the sugars & melt the butter.
- Once the mixture comes up to a boil, stir it down to avoid it bubbling over and let it boil for about 1 minute.
- Add the soy milk slowly and carefully so it does not boil up and over- this mixture is very hot and can burn you!
- Stir it down again and then add the pecans.
- Bring the entire mixture back to a rolling boil and then remove from the heat.
- Add the vanilla extract and by this time your cookie base should be just coming out of the oven.
- Pour the hot caramel pecan filling over the cookie base and then carefully return it all to the oven for another 20 minutes bake time at 350°F
- The entire surface will be bubbling so be careful when you remove it from the oven to cool completely on the counter.
- Once cool to the touch, refrigerate for about 30 minutes to set and then cut into desired portions
For longer storage or for hotter humid temperatures, refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
These bars can be frozen for up to 2 months, they may get slightly sticky from condensation on the thaw though.