Pecan Chocolate Bars
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: cookies
Closely adapted from Maida Heatter
  • For the bottom/top dough:
  • 2½ cups (315 g) AP flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • ½ t salt
  • 8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 t instant espresso
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 7 oz (2 cups) roughly chopped pecans
  • For the chocolate filling:
  • 1 14 (or 15) oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz semi sweet chocolate (I used Sharffen Berger)
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Vanilla Salt for sprinkling on top of the bars
  1. Place a rack in the bottom third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease (or line with silicone or parchment, which is what I did) a 15X10X1 jelly roll pan (cookie sheet). Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the instant espresso and beat to incorporate. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Add the sugar in 2 installments, beating to incorporate after each one. Add the vanilla and beat until lightened and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat to incorporate.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix on the lowest speed until mostly incorporated. Add the oats and mix on low until mostly incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add 1 cup of the pecans and mix until everything is completely incorporated evenly (but do not overmix).
  6. Remove 2 cups of this dough and set aside.
  7. Press the remaining dough into your prepared jelly roll pan. It will take a moment because it is a large pan, but fear not it will all fit.
  8. Set the pan aside to work on the filling.
  9. I used a heavy bottomed pot and a very low heat and watched it carefully, stirring often--but if this makes you nervous use a double boiler. At any rate, melt the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, salt and butter together on very low heat. Stir until smooth and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla.
  10. Pour this warm chocolate mixture over the dough pressed into the pan. Sprinkle the remaining dough in clumps over the chocolate--do not try to cover all the chocolate. Sprinkle the reserved pecans over the top. Then finish by sprinkling vanilla salt to taste over that.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Reverse the pan from front to back halfway through.
  12. Cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack before slicing. I used a bench scraper to cut nice slices without damaging my nonstick pan or the silicone mat.
  13. We did not need to store these in the fridge, but if your kitchen is particularly warm, you may need to store the bars in the fridge.
Recipe by The Spiced Life at