Pecan pie bars: a golden brown sea of crushed pecans that sit atop a smooth filling and flaky crust. The bite-sized confection is ideal to serve as a holiday dessert, or to wrap up and gift to neighbors, friends and family. No matter how you choose to enjoy the tiny treats, this recipe - which was the grand prize winner of the 1973 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest - breaks the process down into a few simple steps, with one secret weapon: crescent rolls.
You were probably taught that making your dough from scratch is king, but if you need to put a dessert on the table fast, refrigerated crescent dinner rolls are a great alternative. Using prepared dough makes the rest of the baking process easy for any level of home cook. Keep in mind that pecan pie bars need time to cool, so give yourself about an extra hour before you need to serve the dessert.
To make the bars, you'll need a few common pantry staples, as well as chopped pecans and refrigerated crescent rolls (in a pinch, rolled out pie dough or even puff pastry would work instead, though the texture will be different). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then unroll the dough and separate it into two long rectangles. Press the dough firmly into an ungreased pan and bake for about eight minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the rest of your ingredients to prepare the filling. Then pour the mixture into the partially baked crust and bake until golden brown.
Once the pecan pie bars are completely cool, cut the dessert in rows to create bars and store at room temperature. Serve the treat at your holiday feast, or box it up alongside more of our edible holiday gifts that are as fun to make as they are to give.
1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or crescent dough sheet
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Unroll dough and separate or cut into 2 long rectangles. Place in ungreased 13x9-inch pan; press over bottom and 1/2-inch up sides to form crust. If using crescent rolls, firmly press perforations to seal.
Bake 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together remaining ingredients.
Pour filling over partially baked crust.
Bake 18 to 22 minutes longer, or until golden brown.
Cool completely, about 1 hour.
Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store at room temperature.