It’s day 10 of our 12 Days of Gluten Free Cookies series!!! Oh man, because of that yummy bonus cookie yesterday from Joy the Baker I guess we will actually have 13 days of cookies..I think I need a new graphic. Oh well, you don’t mind MORE cookies do you? I didn’t think so.
If you have been around for the first few recipes of this series then you know exactly what I am about to say, but just in case you are new to the 12 Days of Gluten Free Cookies craze here are a few things you should know…
- All of the recipes in this series are gluten free and vegetarian, some are vegan, and some are dairy free too. If you have a dietary restriction some of the recipes may just be a simple substitution away from fitting into your diet. So, please check the recipes before deciding that a cookie is not for you and if you have questions leave me a comment. I am here for you!!
- I used King Arthur Flour – gluten free multi-purpose flour for all of the cookies in this series. Why? First, I am not affiliated with King Arthur Flour in any way, I simply wanted to make sure that all of the ingredients I used for these cookies were easy to find. Second, I know that custom blending flours can be intimidating so for now we are going to stick with something easy. The holiday’s are stressful enough without making cookies complicated.
Today’s Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars are a cross between a pecan pie and a shortbread cookie with some chocolate thrown in. You can dig that right? Maybe you have seen my original recipe for pecan pie bars, they are the stuff that southern girl’s dream of.
In case you didn’t know, in the south we sometimes like to pair our pecans with chocolate and when we make pecan pies they are rich and decadent. Of course, these bars absolutely follow suit. They are super rich and honestly a little nibble goes a long way, which means when you make a big pan there is plenty for gifting and some left for you to enjoy too!
My original pecan pie bar recipe calls for Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour and it really does work great for the bars, however I baked this batch with King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour to see if there was much of a difference. I found that the only difference was that the crust was slightly crumbly when I went to cut the first test batch of bars into small cubes. My solution is simple, once the bars have baked and completely cooled refrigerate them until firm to make them easier to slice. Then the bars should be just fine to eat!
- For the crust:
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 3/4 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- For the filling:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups raw pecan halves
- 1/2 teaspoon gluten free pure vanilla extract
- For the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the softened butter and brown sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2- 2 1/2 minutes. Add the salt and cocoa powder then mix to combine. Add the gluten free all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Continue mixing until the batter clings together in clumps. Fold in the chocolate chips gently.
- In a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan press the dough into an even 1/4-inch thick layer. Prick the dough all over with a fork and place the pan in the refrigerator to chill for approximately 15-20 minutes. When the dough is firm transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
- For the filling: Place the butter, brown sugar, honey, granulated sugar, and heavy cream in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, being sure to stir constantly until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the salt, nuts and vanilla. **Be careful when adding the vanilla to the hot sugar mixture. It will splatter and foam** Stir to combine and pour the filling over the cooled crust in an even layer.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the filling is bubbling, Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Once the bars have cooled and the topping has set run a paring knife around the edges of the pan and invert the bars onto an empty sheet pan. Invert again onto a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut into 1 x 3-inch bars. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.
The prep time entered for this recipe is active prep time. This does not include the time for the butter to soften or for the crust to cool in between baking periods.