I had my mind set on pecan pie bars for the Halloween party, which is so random! Well these were a MAJOR success.
In my humble opinion, regular pecan pie filling is very corn syrup-y. So I prefer caramel as a filling. It was difficult to find a caramel pecan bar that didn't also have chocolate. (Not that I'm against chocolate!) But I combined a couple internet recipes to make these little winners.
So if you're looking for a healthy holiday dessert..................... These aren't the ones. (Chuckle)
Crust---3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of margarine
40 caramels (about 1 package)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup water
1.5 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-2.5 cups coarsely chopped pecans or pecan halves, toasted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13. (I baked mine in a jelly roll pan but it was too small! My filling was running over the side.)
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Cut in 1 cup of margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the prepared pan, and press in firmly. *when I made these a second time in the 9x13, I didn't use all of the filling. I had about 3/4 cup left over. You can eyeball it and decide how much crust you want!
- Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.
- Combine caramels, butter, and 1/2 cup water in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until caramels and butter are melted; remove from heat.
- Stir together sugar and next 3 ingredients.
- Stir into caramel mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in pecans.
- Pour into prepared crust.
- Bake at 350 for 33-36 minutes, until inside no longer wiggles.
- Let cool before cutting. If difficult to cut, try refrigerating it before cutting. That makes for a bit cleaner cut.