A funny thing happens to me when Fall arrives: I suddenly get the urge to bake. I think one November a few years back I even made a pie. That’s like, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing for me.
I suppose the change in the weather is one reason for this. I mean, who wants to have their oven going on a 95° day in August. Not me! But the other reason, I believe, lies in the flavors of fall: apples, pears, nuts, pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves… I love these ingredients, so the fact that I want to bake with them makes a ton of sense.
These maple pecan sticky bars celebrate the flavors of this glorious season, with their buttery shortbread crust, maple-y filling and toasty nut topping. I always thought they were pretty close to perfect as is. Until yesterday when I spotted this at the store:
Are you kidding me? Maple bourbon? Where has this been all my life? I seriously want to add it to everything and my maple pecan bars were THE place to start. These are like, jump in a big pile of leaves kind of good. Like drinking hot apple cider by a bonfire kind of good. Awesome little treats for tailgating, pumpkin carving parties or even Thanksgiving. Happy Fall baking one and all.
Sticky Maple Pecan Bars
with Maple Bourbon
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 to 2 tsp Jim Beam Maple Bourbon
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9x9x2-inch metal cake pan. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and egg yolk in bowl to blend. Add flour and salt; beat until moist clumps form. Gather dough together. Press dough over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of pan. Bake crust until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool.
Combine first 4 ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Boil filling 30 seconds. Remove from heat; mix in vanilla, bourbon, then nuts.
Pour hot filling into crust. Bake bars until filling is bubbling in center, about 15 minutes. Cool bars completely in pan on rack (filling will become firm). Chill at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.) Cut into 30 bars.