Pecan Pie Cookie Bars

Can you tell that I'm in an autumn mood? It's only two days until the first day of fall, so I used one of my favorite autumn ingredients - pecans - to create a dessert or snack or treat or whatever you want to call it!

These pecan pie cookie bars take a few steps to make, but only a few ingredients. Make sure you use real maple syrup, and cut the butter into the crust with a pastry blender. You'll save yourself some time and energy by not using just a fork. Also, do not spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray thinking it will be too sticky. I only used a light spray and I still had to wipe oil off the bottom of the cookie.

Ingredients for the crust:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
Dash of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and salt.

3. Cut the butter into 1-inch chunks. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture. Small balls of dough will form.

4. Pour the crust mixture onto the parchment paper in the baking dish. Press and pack the crust into the bottom of the dish.

5. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes. It will be browned around the edges and firm to the touch.

Ingredients for filling:
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups crushed pecans

1. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. 

2. Stir in the maple syrup and brown sugar. Allow it to bubble, stirring frequently until smooth.

3. Remove pan from heat and stir in the whipping cream, then the pecans.

4. Pour the filling on top of the crust and smooth it out evenly.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-30 minutes. It will look liquidy at first, but it will soak up as it cools.

6. Allow the bars to cool for at least two hours. Pull the one large cookie out with the parchment paper, dry off the inside of the baking dish and put just the cookie back in. Cut into 16 bars and enjoy!

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