Bourbon Caramel Pecan Bars

The third place winner in the 2021 Holiday Cookie Recipe contest is a buttery, caramelly and chocolatey shortbread delight by Abigail R. With bourbon in the caramel filling and ganache topping, you’re in for quite a treat.
3 hr 5 min
12 Servings


Shortbread Cookie Base

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Bourbon Caramel Filling

  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Bourbon Ganache Topping

  • 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped, for topping
  • Flaky salt, for topping
  • Instructions

    Shortbread Cookie Base

    1. Prepare an 8x8” or 9x9” square baking dish by spraying the bottom and edges with baking spray. Then with two long opposing pieces of parchment paper, line the pan so there is parchment overlapping each side.
    2. Whisk together flour and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add an egg yolk and mix until combined. Add cream and vanilla, followed by the flour and salt mixture. Beat until dough starts to come together.
    3. Press the cookie dough into the prepared baking pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
    4. Bake the cookie base for 25 minutes until the cookie begins to look golden brown around the edges. Let cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before making the caramel.

    Bourbon Caramel Filling

    1. Combine the melted butter, cream, bourbon and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
    2. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Wipe down sides with damp pastry brush. Let the mixture cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until it turns to a dark amber color. Remove from heat and slowly add the butter mixture to the caramel, constantly whisking. Once the caramel mixture is combined, return to heat and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until a deep caramel color. Pour over the shortbread. Cool in the refrigerator at least a half hour before topping with ganache.

    Bourbon Chocolate Ganache

    1. Combine the chopped dark chocolate and corn syrup in a small bowl. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan then pour over the chocolate mixture. Let sit for 1 minute. Whisk together the cream and chocolate mixture. Whisk in a tablespoon of bourbon. Pour over the caramel layer. Top ganache with flaky salt and chopped pecans. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
    2. Once the ganache layer has set, cut the cookie bars into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve cookie bars at room temperature. Enjoy!