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Pecan Pie Surprise Bars

This recipe was the grand prize winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest in 1971

Enjoy these crunchy bars packed with pecans – a delightful dessert! Pearl Hall of Snohomish, Washington, won the Pillsbury Bake-Off with this recipe in 1971.

Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury.

Every other winning recipe from the Pillsbury Bake-Off.


For the base

  • 1 18.25-ounce package Pillsbury Moist Supreme Yellow or Butter Recipe Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1/3 Cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 egg

For the filling

  • Reserved 2/3 cup dry cake mix
  • 1/2 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Cup chopped pecans


For the base

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13x9-inch pan. Reserve 2/3 cup of the dry cake mix for filling.

In large bowl, combine remaining dry cake mix, margarine and 1 egg; beat at low speed until well blended. Press in bottom of greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

For the filling

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine reserved 2/3 cup dry cake mix, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and 3 eggs; beat at low speed until moistened. Beat 1 minute at medium speed or until well blended.

Remove pan from oven. Pour filling mixture over warm base. Sprinkle with pecans.

Return to oven; bake an additional 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is set. Cool 1 1/2 hours or until completely cooled. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.