Super Easy Chewy Chocolate Pecan Bars

Thursday, April 18, 20130 comments

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Super Easy Chewy Chocolate Pecan Bars
Super Easy Chewy Chocolate Pecan Bars
 Seasoned bakers will almost immediately recognize these simple cookie bars but many will disagree on the name. The truth is, this recipe has been around for many, many years. I remember making them well over 30 years ago when the recipe was given to my Mom under the moniker "Christmas Squares". Not a particularly descriptive name but I have since seen them as Layer Bars, Seven Layer Bars, Magic Bars, Walnut Coconut Bars and I'm sure many more. No matter the name, these delectable cookie bars might be the easiest ever to make.

My reason for posting this recipe is simply that I like to bake them in a smaller pan than most recipes indicate. I found that because of the high sugar content these bars were too thin in a 9x13 inch pan and could very easily over-bake and be somewhat brittle. I prefer to mix all of the ingredients together rather than putting them down in layers and I bake them in a 9x9 pan so that they are thicker and always bake to a chewy texture. It is a matter of preference, I suppose but I've always had better success using this method but if you like you can still bake them in the larger pan, just decrease the baking time and watch them closely. Don't let the top get as browned as shown in the photo or they will likely be over-baked.

We also like a thicker graham crumb base on our cookie bars and have modified the recipe to increase the base a little. Most traditional recipes also call for walnuts but over the years our family's preference has changed and we now think pecans are better in this recipe but you can substitute any nut you like.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x9 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper.

Mix together:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (digestive biscuit crumbs are also delicious)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter ( I use salted butter here)
  • 4 tbsp white sugar

Press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Mix together well:
  • 1 1/3 cups sweetened condensed milk (about 1 can)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (milk chocolate, semi-sweet or dark, your preference)
  • 1 1/4 cups dried unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2  tsp vanilla extract

Pour evenly over the prepared base and bake for 30-40 minutes or until light golden brown on top. Cool completely before cutting into squares or bars. These freeze particularly well.
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