Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars

For many people, fall is the perfect time for pie. I want to agree and jump on the pie bandwagon but my aversion to cooked fruit (it’s weird, I know) always has me hesitating. A few years ago however, I discovered that not all pie has to have fruit. Since then, pecan pie has been at the top of my must-eat list every fall.

These aren’t quite pie but they’ve got a lot of that sweet pecan flavor so pecan pie lovers will thoroughly enjoy these easy bars. To balance the sweet, I made the base using extra dark cocoa powder, which is slightly more bitter than regular baking cocoa powder.

More than just the taste difference, I always love how visually striking extra dark cocoa powder looks when baked into sweet treats. Much like my beautiful black kitten who makes a statement every time he strikes a pose (I had to fit him into this somehow), the dark base on these bars draws the eyes in and gets the eater excited for the next bite.

There were a big hit at work when I brought them in for my usual group of taste testers but if I can share any wisdom about these (beyond all of the instructions below of course) it would be to cut the pieces small before sharing. I cut large pieces and it was all gone way too quickly!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ Cup (3 sticks) butter, divided
  • ½ Cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ Cups (220g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ Cup (30g) extra dark cocoa powder
  • ½ Cup (100g) packed brown sugar
  • ½ Cup (120ml) pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream
  • 2 Large eggs, beaten
  • 2 Cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons dark chocolate chips

Recipe (Adapted from a recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction)

  • Preheat the oven to 355 degrees. Prepare a square baking pan by lining it with parchment paper that extends past the end of the pan and spraying with non-stick spray.
  • Melt 2 sticks of butter over medium heat and let cool for 5 minutes before continuing. Once ready, mix into a large bowl with granulated sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Sift in flour and cocoa powder. Transfer to prepared pan and use clean fingers to press it into the pan. Bake for about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, over medium heat combine the rest of the butter, the brown sugar, maple syrup and heavy cream in a saucepan. Once the mixture reaches a boil, scoop a ladle of the hot liquid mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Never stop whisking as the eggs will scramble. Slowly whisk back into the saucepan with the rest of the liquid and remove from heat. Add pecans.
  • Once the crust is done cooking, pour pecan topping over it and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
  • Let cool completely once done cooking. Before cutting and serving, melt dark chocolate chips and drizzle over bars.