Chocolate-Pecan Shortbread Bars

Tanya Holland layers a fudgy topping over a flaky shortbread crust. These bars are even easier than pie, because there's no need to roll out dough—it just gets pressed into the pan. Slideshow:  Dessert Bars 

Chocolate-Pecan Shortbread Bars
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 30 mins
32 bars



  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 4 large eggs, beaten

  • 3 cups pecan halves, chopped (10 ounces)

  • Flaky sea salt


Make the shortbread

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 12-by-17-inch baking pan with foil, allowing it to extend 1/2 inch over the edge on all sides. Spray the foil with vegetable oil spray.

  2. In a standing electric mixer or food processor, beat the butter with the confectioners' sugar, flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and, using a flat-bottomed glass, press the dough into an even layer. Freeze the dough for about 10 minutes, until firm.

  3. Bake the shortbread in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

Meanwhile, make the topping

  1. In a saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, chocolate and cream and cook over low heat just until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs, then fold in the pecans.

  2. Spread the topping over the shortbread crust and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake the shortbread bar for about 25 minutes, until the topping is set. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm. Using the foil, carefully lift the bar out of the pan; discard the foil. Cut the shortbread into 32 triangles and serve.

Make Ahead

The shortbread can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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