Pies and Tarts/

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Recipe from Season 6, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 322-inch bars


  • 9ounces (about 2 cups) pecan halves
  • One9-ounce bag pretzel rods
  • 1pound (4 stick) unsalted butter (divided use), plus extra for buttering the pan
  • 1/2cup sugar
  • 8ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into pieces not larger than 1/4-inch
  • 3/4cup (about 4 1/2 ounces)Mexican chocolate, finely chopped, (like the widely available Ibarra brand)
  • 3tablespoons flour
  • 6large eggs
  • 1 1/2cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2cups corn syrup, preferably dark (or use a mixture of corn syrup and molasses, sorghum, Steens cane syrup or most any of the other rich-flavored syrups that are on the market)
  • 1tablespoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Mexican vanilla
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish


  1. Toast the pecans and prepare the crumb crust. In a 325 degree oven, toast the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet until noticeably darker and toasty smelling, about 10 minutes. Let the pecans cool to lukewarm (but keep the oven heated), then coarsely chop them by hand—1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces makes luxurious-looking bars. Scrape into a large bowl.
    Use a food processor to chop the pretzels into fairly fine crumbs. (You should have 2 cups of crumbs.) In a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave at 50% power, melt 2 sticks of the butter. Scrape into the processor, along with the 1/2 cup sugar. Pulse until everything is combined. Butter the bottom and sides of two 8 x 8-inch baking pans. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of each pan, then press them firmly in place. Butter the parchment paper. Divide the crumb mixture between the two pans and pat into an even layer covering the bottom completely.
  2. Make the filling. To the pecans, add the 2 chocolates and the flour. Stir to combine, then divide evenly between the 2 pans. In your small saucepan or microwave, melt the remaining 2 sticks of the butter. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla, and beat at medium-low speed (if your mixer has a choice, use the flat beater). Slowly add the melted butter, mixing until the batter looks smooth. Divide the batter between the two pans, pouring it slowly and evenly over the surface to ensure even distribution of the chocolate and pecans through the batter.
  3. Bake, cool and serve the bars. Slide into the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the center has just set. Let cool to room temperature.Cover and refrigerate until firm for easy cutting. Cut into 2-inch squares. Keep them stored in the refrigerator until just before serving. Transfer to a serving platter, dust with powdered sugar, carry to your guests and await the ooo’s and aah’s.


  1. Love your show and recipes. I watch you on the Livewell station and our PBS station here in Houston. We are from Oklahoma too and would like to know if you have a restaurant in Oklahoma City that we could try? I would also like to know what herb I can substitute for cilantro? Keep up the good work.

  2. This is almost identical to Rick Bayless’ recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie from Frontera Grill which I cut out of a Bon Apetite magazine in April of 1989. My daughter won a blue ribbon for it at a county fair in 1990 and I made it this year for Christmas dessert following roast eye of round, oven roasted potatoes and green peas, and green salad. My version used 2 ozs Guittard white chocolate, 2 ozs Guittard milk chocolate, and 2 ozs Guittard semi sweet chocolate as well as toasted pecans from a local orchard here in Texas. Delightful. the small amount extra that wouldn’t fit into pie shell was put into custard cups and baked. Those were great warmed with a bit of Blue Bell brand “Homemade Vanilla” ice cream! I plan to try the new version with pretzel crust in bars.

  3. This pie is my raison d’etre…when I devour a slice I feel like Queen of the World. Thank you for pastry-perfection. The aggression of the chocolate, the velvet of the caramel, the tingling flake of the crust & the explosive crunch of pecans…this is where dessert lives!

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