Nailed It or Failed It: Pecan pie bars

Published 11:33 am Monday, June 3, 2019

By Sarah Condley

Sun columnist

My mom and I were talking the other day and she mentioned how hectic her schedule was going to be Tuesday. She was supposed to be the hostess for her church women’s missions group that evening and didn’t know what she was going to take or if she’d have time to prepare something.

Email newsletter signup

I saw this as a chance to help, so I volunteered to bake something, which she thought was a good idea.

I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to prepare something new for the ladies at church who are always so supportive of me writing this column, and have them be the taste testers.

I decided to make two desserts. One would be lemon bars because my mom truly likes lemon and they really are good.

For the second dessert I quickly thumbed through the stack of dessert recipes I’ve been clipping, copying and saving over the years and found a recipe for pecan pie bars which had come from some kind of Hallmark advertisement.

I love pecan pie and since I have lots of pecans, I decided this recipe for pecan pie bars would be a perfect fit.

Pecan Pie Bars


— 3 cups all-purpose flour

— 1/2 cup sugar

— 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine

— 1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat flour, 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar and salt until mixture resembles crumbs. Heavily grease bottom and sides of 15-by-10 inch baking pan at least 1-1/2-inches deep. Press mixture firmly into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


— 4 eggs, slightly beaten

— 1-1/2 cups light corn syrup

— 1-1/2 cups sugar

— 3 tablespoons melted butter

— 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

— 2-1/2 cups chopped pecans

Blend eggs, corn syrup, 1 1 2/ cups sugar, 3 tablespoons butter and vanilla. Stir in chopped pecans. Spread over hot crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until set.

Cool; cut into bars

About the time I found this recipe I remembered Evelyn Lane had recently shared her recipe for pecan pie bars with me, and I started looking for it, but had no luck. I have no idea what I did with that recipe, I’m sure I tucked it away somewhere and I’ll run across it one of these days.

While the lemon bars were in the oven baking, I began putting this recipe together.

I greased a large rimmed baking sheet and cubed the butter so it would begin to soften.

I put the other dry ingredients together and used my hand-held mixer to combine with the butter.

I dumped the crumbs on the greased sheet pan and started patting the crust into place. My hands must have been hot, because the dough started sticking to them.

After getting the crust off my hands and on to the pan, the lemon bars were done and I removed them from the oven to cool.

I placed the pecan pie bar crust in the oven to bake while I mixed the filling.

When the crust was light brown, it was time to pour the filling on top. I didn’t remove the pan from the oven, I just poured the filling onto the crust while the oven door was open.

Wow, that filling was all the way to the top of the pan and I gently closed the oven door and hoped it didn’t bubble over into my clean oven.

The bars baked for 25 minutes and smelled heavenly. I removed the pan from the oven — surprise, no overflows. I was so glad, and sat the pan on a cooling rack.

Tuesday morning before leaving for work, I sliced the lemon bars and sprinkled them with powdered sugar, then began slicing the pecan pie bars.

I placed them on another pan, put a lid on it and headed to work with them in tow.

Mom pulled up outside our office and said if I had the dessert she would go ahead and take it. I let her know I’d made two things and followed her to my car to get them.

I told her the pecan pie bars were a new recipe and I needed her group’s opinion about them.

Wednesday evening while at church for our weekly Wednesday night dinner several of the women who are in my mom’s missions group let me know they loved both desserts.

Peggy S. said she was looking forward to the recipe being in the paper so she would have a copy of it.

My Aunt Carolyn is part of my mom’s group and she said everyone loved both desserts.

Brenda P. let me know she thought the pecan pie bars were good; she doesn’t care for lemon but she’d taken some home to her husband Donald and he enjoyed them.

Mom said there were some leftovers and she had several people take them home. I was so glad she didn’t bring them back to me because I think I’ve been eating a few too many sweets lately and I have no willpower when it comes to homemade sweets.

With our church ladies’ blessing, this recipe is a definite nailed it and it’s already in my self-made cookbook.

I still haven’t run across Ms. Lane’s recipe, but she said she’d get me another copy. I’m anxious to compare her recipe to this one.

Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.