Shortbread Pecan Bars without Corn Syrup

With all the flavor of Pecan Pie but a lot less work, Shortbread Pecan Bars without Corn Syrup are a classic holiday cookie!

Pecan Pie Bars

One of the hallmarks of the holiday season is festive cookies.  And another is elegant pies.  Hmm… what if you put them together in one?   Like these tasty and elegant Shortbread Pecan Bars. 

This year I’m feeling especially nostalgic.  Perhaps it’s that one of my daughters moved halfway across the country.  Or that my mother passed away just after last Christmas.  But food is a great way to direct that emotion.  Yup, stay tuned as I recreate my grandmother’s gingerbread bars on Friday for #ChristmasCookies week!

In the meantime, how about a nice Shortbread Pecan Bar?

Pecan Pie Bars

Where is the recipe from?

One of my “go to” sources for lost family recipes is the We Energies Cookie Books. 

These annual cookie books were started shortly before the depression to promote the use of electricity and educate on its use and are still very popular.  Even in the digital age, people line up down the street to get a print copy!

This recipe was adapted from the 1970 cookie book. If you are ever looking for a vintage recipe, or historical perspective, all the books are online now and can be fascinating to browse!

Why You’ll Love This!

Easy.   With a 3 ingredient press in crust and topping that’s stir and pour, a homemade cookie doesn’t get much easier than this!

Tasty.  Pecan pie is a classic for it’s amazing flavor.  It tastes equally good in cookie form.

Healthier.  I used white whole wheat flour in the crust, used maple syrup instead of corn syrup and reduced the total sugar in this cookie.   And I challenge you not to love it! 

Pecan Pie Bars

What You’ll Need

Ingredient Notes

  • Coconut oil.  This holds the crust together.  You can substitute butter or margarine.
  • Sugar.  This gives a hint of sweetness to the crust.
  • Flour.  This provides the bulk of the crust and thickens the filling.  I use white whole wheat flour for the crust and all purpose for the filling. 
  • Eggs.  Eggs help hold the filling together.
  • Maple syrup.  This sweetens the filling and contributes to the nutty flavor
  • Brown sugar.  This adds sweetness and caramel-like flavor to the filling.
  • Pecans.  These provide, well, the pecans!
  • Vanilla.  Adds flavor.  You can omit if needed.
  • Salt.  Salt enhances flavor and moderates sweet and bitter flavors.

Special Tools

  • Parchment paper (I use a compostable unbleached parchment) is nice to help get these out of the pan, but you can butter and flour the pan if you’d like

Step by Step Directions

To make the crust, combine white whole wheat flour, sugar and melted coconut oil. 

Mix crust

Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment and spray uncovered sides. Press dough into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes.

parchment lined pan

To make the filling, beat the eggs slightly.  Add remaining ingredients except nuts and whisk until there are no lumps. 

mix filling

Fold in nuts. Pour filling into baked crust

Pour over baked crust.

raw cookies in pan

Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes.  The filling will puff up in the middle and won’t jiggle when it’s done.

Cool to room temperature, then cut into bars.   

Why I use brown parchment rather than aluminum foil to line pans. 

I’m seeing more of a trend to line pans with aluminum foil and this is something that I don’t do for a few reasons.  First, there is the issue of waste.  Contrary to popular belief, aluminum foil isn’t recycled, unlike the cans.  But if you use a recyclable brown parchment, that can go into your compost bin with your other kitchen scraps.  Second there is the cost–even in non-inflationary times, aluminum foil is not inexpensive!  And finally, out of an abundance of caution, I like to reduce possible exposure to ingesting aluminum–especially when there’s a great alternative.

Now growing up in the crunchy granola seventies, we never lined anything. Back then you figured that the first piece you extracted would probably get mangled as it came out of the pan.  Planned accordingly.  Ate same.

Pecan Pie Bars

How to Serve

These Shortbread Pecan Bars are special enough just to cut and serve on a platter, alone, or with other cookies. Maybe add some bite-sized desserts like these Mocha or Chocolate Mini Cheesecake Bites for a very classy platter!  I like to have coffee, tea and milk available too! 

And for an extra special treat, consider microwaving a bar briefly to warm it, then topping with ice cream.  Optionally drizzle with caramel or chocolate syrup to really put it over the top.

Pecan Pie Bars

Variations

Truthfully, it took all of my willpower to not put a tablespoon or two of bourbon in here.  After all, I have it in my Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie and it’s delicious there.  So Bourbon Pecan Bars would have to be variation number one. 

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars is another option that people like.  You can add ½ cup of chocolate chips to the topping or melt some chocolate and add a decorative drizzle across the top.

And for pecan pie cookies that look like bite-sized pies, check out my mini Pecan Pie Cookies. Like mini tarts, they have a pie like crust and are totally cute, though slightly more work (but still easy, really).

Vegan / Vegetarian option

As long as you use coconut oil or margarine rather than butter, these cookies are already vegetarian.  You could use flax eggs to make them vegan, in which case I might add a little additional thickener, either more flour or a little tapioca flour (or your favorite thickener). 

Pecan Pie Bars

Tips & FAQs

I use (virgin/unrefined?) coconut oil in the crust of these, though you can substitute butter or margarine if you’d like.  I feel that it helps me reduce sugar without people noticing.  And in this particular dish, the pecans are intense enough, that the coconut flavor is barely noticeable. 

Chopped versus whole pecans.  I’ve made these both ways and think the chopped pecans look better in the end.  It’s kind of counterintuitive, since whole look more lavish, but they seemed to fit fogether into a nice top layer better.

Pecan Pie Bars

Welcome to #ChristmasCookies Week! That time of year when we soften the butter, fire up the oven, and make cookie trays for family, friends, and neighbors. This year more than 20 top-notch bloggers are sharing their very favorite creations for all to make and enjoy. Join us for a week’s worth of Christmas cookie deliciousness.

Pecan Pie Bars

Shortbread Pecan Bars

With all the flavor of Pecan Pie but a lot less work, Shortbread Pecan Bars without Corn Syrup are a classic holiday cookie!
5 from 5 votes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16

Ingredients
  

Crust:

  • ½ cup coconut oil melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour

FIlling:

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup nuts

Instructions
 

  • To make the crust, combine white whole wheat flour, sugar and melted coconut oil. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment and spray uncovered sides. Press dough into pan (see note). Bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes.
  • To make the filling, beat the eggs slightly. Add remaining ingredients except nuts and whisk until there are no lumps. Fold in nuts.
  • Pour over baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes. The filling will puff up in the middle and won’t jiggle when it’s done.
  • Cool to room temperature, then cut into bars. Makes about 16.

Notes

The uncooked crust dough will look wetter than you expect due to the liquid oil, but will firm up fine when it bakes.

11 thoughts on “Shortbread Pecan Bars without Corn Syrup

  1. Kathryn

    5 stars
    These shortbread bars are so delicious and I love how it’s made corn syrup free. Making these for the holidays for sure!!

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