While I have always been more of a cookie or cake person, I recently discovered, after making 15 pies for a former co-worker's wedding, that I love to bake pie.
There's something homey and comforting about pie. The process of making the dough and prepping the fillings is actually pretty relaxing. It's amazing how a few simple ingredients can be transformed into something beautiful and delicious.
To support my new-found love for pie baking, I recently joined a Pie Baking Group on Facebook (thanks Karen!). For the month of November, Karen challenged us to bake a Pecan Pie. I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of pecan pie, there's something about the gooey texture (and corn syrup) that doesn't appeal to me, but I found a way to put my personal spin on the challenge and that involved 2 of my favorite baking ingredients....bacon and bourbon! Hence these Maple Bacon Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars with Pecan Shortbread Crust were born!
If you love pie, want to learn more about pie or just want to look at drool-worthy pie photos, I encourage you to join the group. I guarantee you'll be ins-pie-erd.
Maple Bacon Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars with Pecan Shortbread Crust
Makes 9-12 bars depending upon size
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 slices thick cut bacon cooked and chopped (I baked my bacon at 375 for approx. 20 min. Baking the bacon renders the fat more evenly)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, room temp
1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a rectangular tart pan with removable bottom with non-stick cooking spay or line a 9"x9" baking pan with non-stick foil (or spray regular foil) leaving a slight overhang to use as handles to easily remove the bars from the pan.
Place the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and pecans in the bowl of your food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until combined and the pecans and small. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like course crumbs (a few small chunks of butter remaining is ok).
For the tart pan: press the dough mixture into an even layer over the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan. Place on a baking sheet.
For the 9x9 baking pan: press the dough evenly over the bottom and a little way up the sides (approx. 1").
Bake at 350 for approx. 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven. If the crust has puffed up a little, press it down with a spoon.
Make the filling:
Combine the melted butter, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla, salt, brown sugar and egg in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the baked crust.
Sprinkle the pecans, chocolate chips and bacon evenly over the filling.
Bake at 350 for approx. 20-25 minutes or until set.
Remove from oven.
If using the tart pan - allow to cool for approx. 1 hour before releasing the tart from the pan. Keep the bottom of the pan on until completely cooled. Then remove the bottom of the pan and cut into bars.
If using the 9x9 baking pan - allow to cool for approx. 30 minutes then remove the bars from the pan using the foil overhang. When completely cool, cut into bars.