A few years ago, just after my mother-in-law moved to the South, she served us pecan pie. At the time, I wasn’t familiar with Southern desserts, but her gooey, rich pecan pie made my heart skip a beat.
Since then I’ve learned that not only does my mother-in-law love pecan pie, but she also loves chocolate as much as I do.
This year will be a little different. Instead of traveling to visit my mother-in-law for the holidays, she will be coming to us. And what kind of hostess would I be if didn’t spoil my guest with sweet treats? And by sweet treats, I mean her two favorites, pecan pie and chocolate in one scrumptious bar.
The idea for these bars has been hidden in the back of my mind for a while now. I was just waiting for the right moment to put it into practice. I wanted a cross between a pecan pie and a fudge brownie. I wanted something that didn't require a lot of prepping time since I'd rather be spending time with my family.
These chocolate pecan bars were more than I asked for! The smile on my mother-in-law's face was the best compliment.
She’s already asked if I can mail her some more.
To keep things really simple, I used ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough as the "pie" base since it only took me about 2-3 minutes to press it evenly into the bottom of the pan.
The fudgy chocolate layer is a breeze! When you read the recipe, it may sound a little intimidating, but read the entire recipe before starting and follow the steps for amazing results. Let’s get baking shall we?
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square pan with paper, leaving 1-2 inches of paper hanging on the sides. Remove the cookie dough from the package and press it, with your fingers, evenly on the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle 2/3-cup pecans on top of it and gently press the nuts in the cookie dough.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the crust cool completely. Do not turn the oven off!
Meanwhile, make the chocolate layer. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together water and butter until melted. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cocoa and sugar. Whisk to combine. Let cool for five minutes at room temperature.
With a hand whisk, stir in the eggs.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the cooled cookie crust. Sprinkle 1/2-cup chopped pecans over it.
Bake in preheated oven, on the middle rack, for 30 minutes. Quickly open the oven and sprinkle the finely chopped pecans on top, if using. Continue baking for 15 more minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely at room temperature. To cut the dessert into bars, gently lift it from the pan using the hanging paper.
With a sharp knife, cut into 16 bars.