A browned butter icing tops these rich pecan bars.

Recipe by Dorie Greenspan
Source: Better Homes and Gardens


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 275°F. Put a dab of butter (to act like glue) in middle of a 13×9-inch baking pan or quarter-sheet pan, line with parchment or wax paper, and generously butter the paper.

  • In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Put pecans in a small bowl or on a piece of parchment paper. Pour ¼ cup of the flour mixture over the nuts; toss to combine. Push the brown sugar through a strainer into a bowl or onto a piece of parchment paper; discard any hard lumps of sugar that remain in the strainer. (Or stir the brown sugar in a bowl to crush any lumps.)

  • In a large mixing bowl beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, very gradually add the brown sugar, then beat on high speed for 1 minute more. (You'll have a shiny, marshmallowy, cafe-au-lait-color meringue.) Beat in the 2 tsp. vanilla.

  • Gently fold the flour mixture into meringue in three additions. (Don't worry about getting the last portion of flour thoroughly mixed, because you've got more folding to do.) Gently fold in the flour-coated pecans in three batches. (The meringue will deflate, but the shine lingers.) Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.

  • Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the top is dry, dull, and pale. (It won't spring back when lightly pressed.) Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool 3 minutes. Run a table knife around edges to release cake; turn onto wire rack to unmold. (If cake doesn't release immediately, run your knife around edges again, turn cake over, and give the pan and wire rack a little shake.) Gently remove paper; invert the cake onto another wire rack to cool. Transfer cooled cake to a cutting board. Using a long, thin knife, cut the cake into 3×1-inch fingers.

  • For icing: Pour powdered sugar into a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan heat butter over medium heat until it boils. (Swirl pan occasionally so you can see beneath the foam.) Cook the butter until it turns a cozy shade of brown. (You'll see dark spots in the butter. The more color you get, the more flavor you'll get. Just don't take it so far that the butter burns.) Pour the butter and brown bits over the powdered sugar; add the 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Working with a flexible spatula, stir and mash butter into sugar until you have a firm mixture. (It will look more like something you'd mold than spread.)

  • Press some icing onto center of cookie, spreading to cover the cookie. After you cover the cookie with icing, use the spatula to press and smooth the top. Press pecan halves into the icing, if desired. Leave cookies at room temperature 1 hour or until the icing firms.


If you have a fine strainer, just place the brown sugar in a bowl and stir through it to find any small hard lumps.

Nutrition Facts

143 calories; 6 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 1 g polyunsaturated fat; 3 g monounsaturated fat; 7 mg cholesterol; 31 mg sodium. 45 mg potassium; 22 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 19 g sugar; 1 g protein; 0 g trans fatty acid; 81 IU vitamin a; 0 mg vitamin c; 0 mg thiamin; 0 mg riboflavin; 0 mg niacin equivalents; 0 mg vitamin b6; 7 mcg folate; 0 mcg vitamin b12; 19 mg calcium; 0 mg iron;

Reviews (1)

3 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 3
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
This is such an easy yet flavorful bar! I just sub Earth Balance for butter. I add 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice to icing. If you want to travel with these, just leave the icing at home. I will, some time, add diced fruit especially when I do not frost. My Apple Pie Spice; 1 Tbs. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. clove,1 tsp. allspice, 1/4 tsp. cardamon. I use this for everything from hot tea to hot cereal to baking!raf