Thanksgiving is less than a week away and I’ve been spending the last few days deciding what to take to my family gathering.  I’ve been asked to bring my “famous” cranberry sauce, and I’m narrowing down a shortlist of side dishes, but I also wanted to bring a little sweetie for dessert.  I needed a treat that traveled well and I was in the mood to try something new; something a little different than the traditional pecan and pumpkin pies, but that still had that same Thanksgiving flavor.  What I found were these pecan pie bars.  They’ve got a rich, brown-sugar shortbread crust and are topped with chewy, honey caramel (not corn syrup) that is packed with crunchy pecans.  It’s all the Thanksgiving-y goodness you’re craving with a whole new, super-portable, easily-shareable twist.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the crust:

  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. salt

For the topping:

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 2 T. heavy cream
  • 2 c. chopped pecans

Start out by heating the oven to 350.  Line a 9×13 baking pan with aluminum foil, shiny side down, leaving a couple inches overhanging on the ends to use as handles to lift out the finished bars.

Next, make the crust by creaming together the butter and brown sugar until it’s light and kind of fluffy.  Add the flour and mix until a crumbly dough forms.  Press the dough firmly and evenly into the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes.

While the crust bakes, make the topping.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the honey, brown sugar, and cream.  Stirring often, bring the mixture to a simmer and let bubble for one minute.  Add the pecans and stir well.

Take the crust from the oven and pour the pecan caramel over the hot crust.  Bake another 20 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before lifting out the foil and pulling it away from the bars.  Cut into your desired size with a sharp knife and store in an airtight container.

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