Martha’s Pecan Bars

Martha's Pecan Bars - shortbread base layered with a brown sugar/honey caramel and loads of pecans

Holy heavenly cookie bars, Batman.

I almost feel like that’s all I should say.

I rarely make noise when I sample food. Even more rarely do I roll my eyes back into my head and risk getting them stuck there. But both happened when I took my first bite of these cookie bars.

In fact, my “Ummm!!!” was so enthusiastic and guttural that my 14-year-old looked at me skeptically with an eyebrow raised and said, “Is it really that good?”

“Yes! Yes, it IS that good!” I said, and proceeded to greedily savor each bite with my looking balls staring straight to the back of my brain.

These are perfect for traveling if you are road-tripping to your in-laws for the holidays and have been assigned dessert.

They are perfect for gifting to neighbors – one batch makes 36 – 48 bars depending on how small you cut them.

They are perfect for the New Year’s open house buffet.

They are perfect for wrapping up and sending in the mail.

They are perfect for savoring by the fire after the kids go to bed.

They are perfect for sitting with a book and cup of tea.

They are perfect for family game night.

They are perfect for making time stop while your kids are running crazy and you are supposed to be making dinner, but you



a little


Go ahead. Make them. Make time stop, and get your eyes stuck rolled back into your head. It’s an awesome experience.

Martha's Pecan Bars - decadent shortbread with brown sugar/honey layer and topped with loads of pecans

Martha’s Pecan Bars

Rating: 51


    for the crust:
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened.
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • for the filling:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Make the crust: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in salt. Add Flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition. Continue mixing until dough begins to come together in large clumps.

Press dough evenly into baking pan (it should be about 1/4 inch thick). Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Make the filling: Combine butter, brown sugar, honey, granulated sugar, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. remove pan from heat; stir in salt, nuts and vanilla. Pour filling into the cooled crust.

Bake until the filling bubbles, 15-20 minutes. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently lift the bar out of the pan by gripping the parchment paper. Transfer to a cutting board. Peel the sides of the parchment paper down and use a sharp knife to cut bars to desired size. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to one week.


Sara | Home is Where the Cookies Are, adapted just a tiny smidgen from the Martha Stewart Holiday Handbook 2011


Martha's Pecan Bars - a decadent shortbread layered with honey/brown sugar caramel and loads of pecans

6 thoughts on “Martha’s Pecan Bars

  1. Haha! First comment! YESSSSSS!

    These sound fantastic. Wish I would have had them this Sunday when my whiskey pecan chews failed and I had to turn them into “southern pecan brittle balls” (call them something different and people will never know they were supposed to be something else!”). I might try these this weekend.

  2. I make a similar version of these but for the crust I make it more like a shortbread and keep the butter cold. I make the dough in the food processor and then as it cook you get little pockets of butter melting to give it a extra decadent crust. Then, because I can’t resist chocolate, I put down a layer of dark chocolate before the pecan caramel! So good!

    The Dinner Belle for

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