Sunday, February 16, 2014

Butter Pecan Bars

I don't eat ice cream often. Maybe a couple times a month, if that. The one flavor I can NOT resist is butter pecan. I buy Stewart's Butter Pecan Ice Cream. Stewart's is one of the few companies that still sells a full half-gallon of ice cream for a price that's less than the smaller sized packages that larger manufacturers sell. It's a better ice cream and a better bargain.  If I drive by a Stewart's on a quiet afternoon, you might see me walk out of the store with a single scoop of butter pecan on a sugar cone. Maybe. And their cones are a bargain too, at less than $2.00 for a generous serving. You can't do that at some of the trendier ice cream shops, that's for sure, and you can't find a better ice cream. Just sayin!

Recently, when I was trying to think of things I love that can be translated to a baked recipe, I thought about butter pecan ice cream, and how great it would be to capture that flavor in a bar cookie. I decided against brown sugar, which would lend too dark a flavor and disguise the butter flavor I was looking for, but I also didn't want a soft, cake bar. To get a firmer texture, I decided to adapt a traditional chocolate chip cookie bar recipe by eliminating the brown sugar and replacing it with granulated sugar. With two bars of butter, eggs with bright yolks, and a drop or three of yellow food coloring, the batter looked like butter pecan ice cream! I folded in the precious pecans figuring that this batter is worthy of their presence (they are expensive right now - I paid about $7.00 for a 9 oz. bag!).

Here's the recipe. Hope you love it!

Original recipe by Adirondack Baker

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit

Butter or spray an 13x9-inch baking pan (I used a non-stick pan with spray)

1/2 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature (2 bars)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I like a lot, you can use a little less)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I like King Arthur)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
up to 1 1/2 cups pecan halves (they're expensive, use what you feel is best)

In large mixer bowl, cream butter until nice and smooth. Add sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract.

To bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. On very low speed (careful not to blast the flour out of the bowl) mix until dry ingredients are completely incorporated.

Stir in pecan halves.

Press dough into pan, evening it out with your finger tips (dust fingers with flour). Press in a couple more pecans on top, just so it looks pretty.

Bake for 20 minutes or until top begins to puff up and brown just a bit. I had to keep mine in a few more minutes - depends on how your own oven works.

Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Beautiful Butter Pecan Bars! I think you'll love them!
Henry, who prefers chocolate chip cookies over pecan bars - oh well!!!

Berner puppy Freya, almost 3 months old!


  1. These sound and look oh so delicious. Pete is very fond of butter pecan ice cream, I'll have to surprise him with the bars when we return to New York -- Maybe a birthday surprise. What a fun thing for you to create with all of the snow and cold you have been having -- I'll bet your kitchen smelled delicious! See you soon.

    1. Hi Sue! I tested them and they are really delicious! Now I have to find a place to drop them off or put them into the freezer for company! My kitchen always smells the same to me - I'm so used to it! Enjoy every second of the rest of your time in Hawaii, and I look forward to catching up with you when you're home!

  2. I too love butter pecan ice cream - I really need to try these. Maple Walnut is my fave - I wonder if I could substitute maple extract and walnuts, hmmmm/

    1. Sandy, you could totally switch to maple extract and walnuts. Maple extract is strong so I'd use 1.5 teaspoons for the whole batch. If you do make them, let me know how they are! Thanks so much for the comment!

  3. OK...I'm definitely planning on these to star in our Easter Sunday open house! I'm with you Jeannie in my love for butter pecan and with you Sandie in my love of maple walnut (especially in a milkshake)!

    1. Di, you have the best open houses! Hope to make it this year, and I'll bring something special!

  4. I am not a big fan of butter pecan but these look delicious. Thanks for sharing your ideas and recipes.

    1. Kathy, you could switch out the pecans for another nut - slivered almonds with almond extract, pistachios with vanilla extract and dried cranberries or white chocolate chips - anything. Use the batter as a foundation, switch extracts and add-ins, and make it your own!

  5. Got to try these. They look and sound delicious!