maple pecan bites

by jenna on November 16, 2010

Reasons why you should bake these maple pecan bites today

  1. Because they’ll be ready in under an hour
  2. Because they taste just like pecan pie, but are already pre-portioned into cute little bars
  3. Because they contain healthy fat in the form of nuts and butter.
  4. Because butter just got voted as a healthy fat.
  5. Because maple syrup is a beautiful thing.
  6. Because you could sprinkle crispy bacon on top and it would probably be amazing.
  7. Because they travel extremely well.
  8. Because they make cute gifts.
  9. Because they give you an excuse to eat bits of the topping that “falls off”
  10. Because your coworkers will love you.
  11. Because your boyfriend will love you (even if he doesn’t like pecans).
  12. Because the shortbread crust will make you swoon.
  13. Because they’ll make you lift your cat’s paws in celebratory dance.
  14. Because the scent of these cooking will attract cute neighbors.
  15. Because you don’t have to worry about pie crust.
  16. Because you don’t have to worry about pie in general.
  17. Because bite sized desserts don’t count.
  18. Because pecan crumbs don’t count.
  19. Because Thanksgiving is next week.
  20. ….and because it’s just a good idea.

Do it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really get all that excited about pie. I mean, sure, I love peach pie and I have a heck of a good time making my own crust from scratch, but the cold sad truth is that if faced with an elaborate dessert platter, I’ll always pick cake.

Yep, I’m a cake girl. I just feel like you get more bang for your buck.

However! Then I discovered these maple pecan bites.

They’re like small slices of extra loaded pie (kinda like a baked potato?) with all of the fixins’ and none of the mess. Usually, pecan pie recipes call for corn syrup, but I opted for pure maple syrup instead…a worthy substitution indeed. I love the flavor complexity that the syrup brings, and maple plus pecans?

Plus shortbread, plus brown sugar, plus…..butter?


So……you got an hour? You got a bag of pecans? Let’s go!

Mix together: one cup flour, pinch of salt and a quarter cup brown sugar.

Add six tablespoons of cold butter. Work it baby, work it!

Now, press that mixture into a greased nine inch pan and bake for twenty minutes. It’ll get all nice and toasty lookin’.

While that’s baking, melt some butter on the stove and add these fun things.

Plus a little vanilla and just a smidge of cream….(it’s a good idea).

and then pour all that loveliness right onto your hot, golden crust.

Moaning is allowed here. In fact, it’s recommended.

Bake for twenty minutes. Let cool (or else you will burn your fingers off), slice and eat. Repeat.

Maple Pecan Bites

adapted from Gourmet

makes about 20 small bars

Print this recipe!

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

pinch of salt

6 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into slices

1 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cream

4 tablespoons salted butter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar and salt. Cut in the six tablespoons cold butter with your fingers, working the mixture together until crumbs form.

Press shortbread into a nine inch pan sprayed with cooking spray and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden.

Remove hot crust from oven and set aside. In a small saucepot, melt the remaining butter (four tablespoons). Add the brown sugar, maple syrup and cream and whisk well. Simmer for one minute while whisking continuously. Add the pecans and pour into the hot crust.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let cool for half an hour—this gives the bars a chance to harden.


**These maple pecan bites are also being on The Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen site…today!

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 16, 2010 at 7:14 am

The reason I will be making these today… because NO crumbs count!! I love pecans. And since they are bites, you get to eat even more than normally. Yessss.


jenna November 16, 2010 at 7:16 am

crumbs NEVER count!


Jen November 16, 2010 at 11:45 am

Neither does whatever you eat standing up at the counter or the batter bowl :)


Annie@stronghealthyfit November 16, 2010 at 7:17 am

We make these at the bakery where I work, but cut them into triangles and call them “pecan triangles”. Haha. So yummy!


Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes November 16, 2010 at 7:20 am

A cake girl?! and here i was, hoping we could be friends! 😉 I’m a pie girl. Always have, always, will…I’ll blame in on my Pennsylvania Dutch roots… hard to escape ’em!
At any rate, these are lovely looking…I’ve made a couple batches of pecan bars this fall but mine didn’t have maple syrup…which, is pretty much the best ever. And I love the suggestion for the bacon…mmmm…Maybe we can still be friends, after all :)
cathy b. @ brightbakes


jenna November 16, 2010 at 7:27 am

Pie is good too. I just need something I can sink my teeth into!

And, as always, bacon really is a good idea.


Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin November 16, 2010 at 7:20 am

Woah those look AMAZING. Sort of like a bite size pecan pie? That would be SUCH a great dessert for Thanksgiving!!


Angharad November 16, 2010 at 7:24 am

These look incredible! I am with you on the pie thing. I made blueberry crumb bars this summer…because bars > crumble.


Lauren November 16, 2010 at 7:26 am

Making these as soon as I get home for break! I love living in a maple syrup state – my aunt and uncle and tons of other friends make it, so we always get gallons of maple syrup for a good price.


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 16, 2010 at 7:29 am

Maple Pecan Bites are now my desktop screensaver!!! Thanks for the recipe feature yesterday! :)


Heather (Heather's Dish) November 16, 2010 at 7:32 am

i’m officially making these tomorrow night…and you’re right, my coworkers will love me for it! :)


Jen November 16, 2010 at 7:36 am

I want to leave work and make them – right now!


Emily November 16, 2010 at 7:39 am

Oh my gosh, these look incredible. Adding everything to my grocery list… now!


Amanda (Eating Up) November 16, 2010 at 7:39 am

I love a good cake over pie any day too! But these just scream Tgives, you are right!


Therese November 16, 2010 at 7:42 am

Have I told you lately that I love you?



The Blue-Eyed Bakers November 16, 2010 at 7:48 am

These look amazing!! And since they’re so small…they don’t really count as dessert right?! Right. Delicious.


Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 16, 2010 at 7:48 am

These look fantastic. I printed this recipe out immediately.


stacey-healthylife November 16, 2010 at 7:51 am

Those look perfect for thanksgiving.


Alina @ Duty Free Foodie November 16, 2010 at 7:51 am

Thank you!

I love pecan pie, but all the recipes call for shortening. This is all-butter – so excited to make this!


Steph@stephsbitebybite November 16, 2010 at 7:54 am

Ok I think I found my play on pecan pie for Turkey Day!!!


Lauren @ KeepItSweet November 16, 2010 at 8:03 am

these look delicious and yes, butter is definitely a healthy fat:-)


Debbie November 16, 2010 at 8:06 am

Yummy Jenna! I love your list of reasons 😉


Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman November 16, 2010 at 8:21 am

Because I can bring bars to work–not so much with a pie. These look amazing.


Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] November 16, 2010 at 8:25 am

Everything’s better with bacon!!!


Christine (The Raw Project) November 16, 2010 at 8:26 am

These look wonderful, my husband will love these! Thanks!


Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun November 16, 2010 at 8:27 am

Because bars are more fun to eat….your reasons for making these all sound perfect to me! 😀


emily hall November 16, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I definitely agree with Tina!


Moni'sMeals November 16, 2010 at 8:32 am

Challenge On! After work I will be making these, I have all I need.

I mean looks at those pics, of course I have to try them out. 😉

Great “reasons” too, I am sold.

Thanks Jenna!


Alexis November 16, 2010 at 8:40 am

I totally agree with #17.

:) Bite sized desserts never count.


Alexia @ DimpleSnatcher November 16, 2010 at 10:53 am

Alexis, you forget the “a.”
Looks really good, Jenna! I can’t tell when last when I’ve has pecans…


Maria November 16, 2010 at 8:42 am

Love these!


Mama Pea November 16, 2010 at 8:54 am

Those look delightful! But I’m not going near Pea Kitty’s paw. I could lose an eye.


jenna November 16, 2010 at 9:00 am

hahahah that made me laugh out loud!


Mara @ What's For Dinner? November 16, 2010 at 8:57 am

Oh how delicious… I can’t make them until I have somewhere to BRING them though, because I’d eat the whole darn tray!


Krystina (Basil & Wine) November 16, 2010 at 9:07 am

I’m swooning. I’ve only had pecan pie once and LOVED it. I wish butter would be considered a healthy fat.


Jillian @ Reshape Your Life November 16, 2010 at 9:14 am

I love that bite sized desserts don’t count. And crumbs never count… ever. :)

These look delicious!


Estela @ Weekly Bite November 16, 2010 at 9:19 am

You just answered my prayers! Thank you!!!


Ella November 16, 2010 at 9:29 am

I’ve never had pecan pie before! My family always has apple, but those pictures are making me want to break the tradition. Actually I don’t think I’ve ever even eaten a pecan in my life. This should change soon, I’m adding this to my “to bake” list over Thanksgiving break. I promised my roomies I would halt all baking adventures in our kitchen until after Christmas for our waistline’s sake.


Lauren @ louisianagrown November 16, 2010 at 9:29 am

I’ve got this recipe bookmarked, and now it’s just looking like finding a spare hour will be the hard part!


Dee November 16, 2010 at 9:37 am

OH MY GOOD folly miss molly!!! This looks unbelievably good!!


Maria November 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

I know what your talking about, I’ve made pecan diamonds before, and they are so easy and yummy. I agree with you about pies, they’re messy and the crust can make or break the whole thing. Give me a cupcake anyday, and I’ll be happy.


kate November 16, 2010 at 9:42 am

Stop it with these delicious looking baked goods! I heart pecan anything!


salah@myhealthiestlifestyle November 16, 2010 at 9:46 am

OMG these look and sound so amazing!! I will definitely have to make these!!


Alicia November 16, 2010 at 9:46 am

These look so amazing! They also seem like they are way easier to make (and to eat) than pecan pie… plus I love maple syrup in anything! I can’t wait to make these…


Natalia - a side of simple November 16, 2010 at 9:53 am

I appreciate you listing 20 reasons why I should make these, but honestly, I didn’t need convincing :)


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 16, 2010 at 9:58 am

These look ridiculous.

I have all of those thing.

I want to make them.



lisa November 16, 2010 at 10:14 am

These looks so good. I think I’ll make them to bring to the bf’s for thanksgiving


Clare @ Fitting It All In November 16, 2010 at 10:26 am

Can you always substitute maple syrup for corn syrup (as long as the flavor would fit, of course) ??


jenna November 16, 2010 at 10:36 am

No—-corn syrup lends a really chewy final product. Maple syrup hardens a little more; it doesn’t stay super chewy.


Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen November 16, 2010 at 10:27 am

Ahhhh! These look incredible, and love the idea of the crispy bacon on top.


Jessica S November 16, 2010 at 10:44 am

These look amazing, and the reasons add up and speak for themselves. However, what are your thoughts on walnuts and not pecans? I’ve never been a huge pecan person.

Love your blog!


Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries November 16, 2010 at 11:00 am

Pecan pie is my favorite dessert of all time. Thank you for giving me portion control!!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) November 16, 2010 at 11:02 am

These look insanely good and are the epitome of homemade holiday dessert food…I remember my mom making similar things b/c my dad is a huge pecan pie + maple lover. He would adore these!

I adore your really dark nail polish….tres chic! :)

and of course am drooling over the recipe…done in under 1 hour: huge bonus!


Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 16, 2010 at 11:22 am

These.are.perfect. I totally would bake these today except I promised myself I wont go shopping for the rest of the week since I’m going home in a few days..but I will once I can get the ingredients!


Rachel @ The Avid Appetite November 16, 2010 at 11:53 am

These look like the absolute perfect comfort food on a rainy, chilly day as it is here in NYC!


Kim Trick November 16, 2010 at 11:54 am

My two fave bloggers together at last! So excited to see it on Tasty Kitchen. I’m going to try these out over my Thanksgiving break.


Amber K November 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I have got to figure out how to bake gluten-free because your recipes make me droooool!


emily hall November 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm

These look super easy to make! I will add these to my baking list for the holidays!
I might give these at small gifts in cute little tins!
Thanks for the idea!



Joanna November 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I don’t bake (or cook)… I just love etaing. ha. But I love pecan pie and your list of reasons why I should make these really convinced me. I am going to try it this weekend!


Liana @ femme fraiche November 16, 2010 at 3:01 pm

If bites counted, everyday would be a cheat…and I cannot have that!!

PS–butter is SO good for you, way better than margarine at least;)


Laughter-Loving Stacy November 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Oh crap. That looks insanely delicious!


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 16, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Is it bad that your 20 reasons why I should make these has almost convinced me to make them, despite my one reason why I should NOT make them, the fact that I’m allergic to pecans? 😛


jenna November 16, 2010 at 3:57 pm

walnuts?? peanuts??


david November 16, 2010 at 4:32 pm

The 21st reason why you should bake it: I did it and it was amazingly good


jenna November 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm



Erin November 16, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Story for you:
Fiance (who hails from Santa Rosa, btw) and I were at costco this weekend & I wanted a gigantic bag of pecans for some reason. He said ”only if you make me a pie.” and I said yes. and then I said but I’m not making the crust from scratch (because, let’s be real here. it’s a pain in the arse). and then he said ”but the crust is so important!” and then you posted this recipe, and saved my life. Shortbread is currently in the oven. Thank you.

p.s. I heart your blog. and I have a huge girl crush on PW, so HUGE congrats on Tasty Kitchen.


maya @ finding balance in tokyo November 16, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Oh! My co-worker has been on me for ages to make him a pecan pie, but I’m not a fan (too sticky sweet!) so I’ve put it off so far. I have been thinking about trying one using maple syrup as the base for months, since I don’t do corn syrup, and your recipe looks like a much better idea than going with a full pie! These are absolutely going to be made for that pesky co-worker as soon as possible. 😀


Jessica - Haute Teapot November 17, 2010 at 2:54 am

I like this list. I like this list indeed.

I will perhaps decide to make these. No matter the fact that I am allergic to nuts. Nope, that list is too good.


Marie-Journey to Body Zen November 17, 2010 at 4:19 am

These are just what I have been looking for! This Thanksgiving is the first year that my husband and I won’t be traveling home for the holiday. So we are trying to find dishes that are not too overwhelming for just two people (we don’t to be eating leftovers for dayyyyyyssss). These bars look like a happy medium of not too much but not too little. :) Can’t wait to make ’em.


Laura November 17, 2010 at 5:07 am

i made these during glee last night to bring to work today. oh my, they are absolutely amazing…even though i may have left them in the oven a minute too long. total foodgasm….thanks for another great recipe!


David November 18, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I cooked them for my friend Josh, he had to get his wife to come Great post:)


meg November 18, 2010 at 8:39 pm

would these freeze well too?


Leah @ Simply Fabulous November 19, 2010 at 2:12 am

Jenna! Do you have experience in baking with gluten free flour? I REALLY want to make these this weekend for my guests but I don’t know how the substitute would work out? Any advice? Gluten free flour for regular. Please let me know!!


Amina November 19, 2010 at 10:13 am

I cook gluten free due to an allergy also. I haven’t tried this yet, but I would think a mixture of flours would work well. I would likely use a mix of white rice flour, almond flour (helps w/ texture), potato starch and brown rice flour. Don’t forget to add 1tsp of xanthum gum so everything sticks together. Oats would work well I would think, if you can tolerate them.


Leah @ Simply Fabulous November 19, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Thank you! I appreciate it. I’m going to give it a shot tomorrow. My guests are coming on Sunday so if it doesn’t work out i’ll have time to make a different batch.


Kris November 19, 2010 at 9:10 am

Sooo… I made these today and they are downright amazing. However I didn’t get that division between the shortbread and pecan topping, it all kind of melded together. Any suggestions for when I made them for thanksgiving?

I am definitely more of a cook than a baker. 😉



jenna November 19, 2010 at 6:06 pm

That’s weird!!! Are you sure you baked the crust enough? I can’t think of any other reason that would happen. The crust should be golden brown and then you pour the hot pecan/maple syrup mixture on top before baking again. Lemme know!


Paige November 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Jenna, I’m thinking of making these for Thanksgiving this year, but I was curious about why you used salted butter vs. unsalted in your recipe. I almost always use unsalted for baking!


jenna November 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm

I always use salted butter! I think it gives baked goods a little oomph! You could use unsalted if you preferred, but I always opt for salted myself..


Paige November 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Thanks for replying back! 😀


Alex November 19, 2010 at 7:04 pm

These I need to make NOW.
But I don’t have pecans.

Would walnuts work?


jenna November 19, 2010 at 7:34 pm



Carlee November 20, 2010 at 9:27 am

I can’t wait to give these a try. I have to work this weekend so I deserve a treat!


Jen November 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Made a batch today for my husband to take to work but we ate them all ourselves! Now I have a second batch baking in the oven now :) Thanks for the delicious post.


Liz Ford November 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I made these for my co-workers … and now they love me!! These are delish!!!


Lauren November 24, 2010 at 6:04 am

Just made these for my family, and they LOVED them! My dad is a pecan pie fiend, and he gave his stamp of approval in the manner of eating seven squares of these. I think this will become a regular around the Thanksgiving holidays. :) Thanks!


Bobbi McCormick November 24, 2010 at 11:12 am

MAking these right now!!!!


Kati @ Living Welll November 24, 2010 at 6:03 pm

I’ve got these in the oven right now! Can’t wait ;>


Chelsea November 25, 2010 at 10:33 am

Made these yesterday and had to have a little taste this morning while I was cutting them up for the dessert tray – delish!


Danielle November 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm

I made these as part of my contribution to Thanksgiving dessert yesterday — they were a HUGE hit! Probably one of my new all-time favorite desserts.

I’m sending you the bill for my new pair of bigger jeans 😉


sherri December 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm

do you grade a or grade b maple syrup?


sherri December 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm

use, that is…


Brianna September 21, 2011 at 10:56 am

Do you think you could freeze these?


Shari @ The Daily Dish November 11, 2011 at 8:40 am

These look awesome! Thanks for sharing. Will definitely be making these in the near future.


d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo November 11, 2011 at 8:51 am



Tracy November 18, 2011 at 8:42 am

I haven’t made this yet…but I love it!


Jamie November 16, 2012 at 10:59 am

Just made these for our office Thanksgiving lunch and they were a hit. The small, bite size was great. Will make them again next year!



Marie November 30, 2012 at 7:43 am

I’m currently on maternity leave and brought my new baby at work for a quick visit along with a batch of these squares. Even those on a diet could not resist having seconds and thirds (and neither could I).


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