Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars

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If you like pecan bars, you will go “nuts” for this chocolate bourbon pecan bars recipe! These sweet dessert pecan bars are soft, chewy, crunchy, gooey, and absolutely delicious.

Overhead of chocolate bourbon pecan bars,

These chocolate bourbon pecan pie bars are a step above my also delicious pecan pie bars. With a layer of bourbon-spiked chocolate pecan pie filling sitting a top a chocolate cookie shortbread crust – these are so decadent and delicious.

Y’all know how much I love pecan pie-flavored desserts. My original pecan pie, obviously, is a favorite. My mini-pecan pies are as cute as they are yummy. And my pecan pie cheesecake is totally over the top but worth every calorie.

Bars are so easy – they’re snackable food you can eat with your hands. The recipe is also easy. I made a fairly small batch in a 9×9-inch baking pan, but I cut the bars rather large. Double the recipe or cut them smaller to feed more people if needed.

This recipe starts by making the chocolate cookie bottom. It needs to bake for about 20 minutes so that it’s sturdy enough to hold the gooey topping.

The filling is sticky, gooey, and sweet – similar to traditional style pecan pie filling, but with bourbon and melted chocolate. The bourbon is optional, but I love the flavor it adds (and the alcohol is baked off when the bars go back in the oven).

It is absolutely crucial to let these bars cool completely before cutting them. I actually let mine sit overnight. If you’re in a hurry you can cool them on the counter for a few minutes and then pop them into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. They should be sturdy enough to cut by then.

Grab a tall glass of milk and sink your teeth into a soft, buttery, chewy, and crunchy dessert. Or serve it in a bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. I mean, if you’re going to go for it, go for it. Enjoy!


Recipe Snapshot

  • TASTE: Decadent – chocolate and nuts
  • TEXTURE: Chewy and gooey with a crunchy pecan crust topping
  • EASE: Easy!
  • TIME: Just over an hour

What You’ll Need

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter: Melted for the crust, softened for the filling.
  • Chocolate: Unsweetened cocoa powder (from the baking aisle, NOT hot chocolate) for the crust and semisweet or dark chocolate for the filling.
  • Sugar: Both the filling and the crust call for light brown sugar.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose or gluten-free flour for the crust.
  • Baking powder: Just a touch of baking powder for the crust.
  • Light corn syrup: For the pie-like texture of the filling.
  • Egg: Adds texture and richness to the filling.
  • Bourbon: For flavor (see tips below)
  • Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla.
  • Salt: Just a touch in both the crust and the filling.
  • Pecans: Chopped, but not too finely, for the filling.

Recommended Tools

  • Double boiler, if you have one. Not necessary
  • Large bowl
  • Parchment paper or aluminum foil
Three chocolate bourbon pecan bars stacked.

How to Make Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars

These chocolate bourbon pecan bars are easy to make and taste like a million bucks. They’re so rich and decadently delicious. Start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below

Make the Crust

  1. Mix the butter and cocoa. Combine the melted butter and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.
  2. Mix the remaining dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
  3. Combine. Pour the chocolate butter mixture into the flour and toss together until evenly mixed.
  4. Bake. Press it evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

Make the Filling

  1. Melt. Melt butter and chocolate together.
  2. Combine. Place the sugar, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Add egg and pecans. Add the egg and whisk until fully incorporated. Stir in the chopped pecans.
  4. Assemble. Pour the filling over the hot shortbread crust.
  5. Bake. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges begin to firm up. (The center will remain wobbly like it is underdone. That is okay. It will firm up as it cools.)
  6. Cool. Cool the bars completely on a cooling rack, then lift the foil out of the pan to remove the bars and cut on a cutting board.

Handy tip:

The bars need to be cooled completely before cutting – otherwise they’ll be a goopy mess. If you are short on time, put them in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.

Tips For Success

  • Melt the butter and chocolate while the crust is baking. Either microwave on high for 30 seconds in a microwave-safe bowl, use a double boiler, or make one by putting a glass or metal bowl over a pot of hot water.
  • To make these a little bit extra – sprinkle them with a bit of flaky sea salt right when they come out of the oven.
  • The brand of bourbon doesn’t matter here – use what you like. My only rule about cooking or baking with alcohol is to only cook with something you would drink. So if it’s too cheap to drink, don’t put it in a recipe!
Two chocolate bourbon pecan bars stacked.

Storage & Freezing

  1. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  2. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Bars

4.47 from 43 votes
Three chocolate bourbon pecan bars stacked.
If you like pecan bars, you will go nuts for this bourbon and chocolate version! These chocolate bourbon pecan bars are soft, chewy, crunchy, and gooey.
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Serving Size 16

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 7 tablespoons (99 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup (21 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

For the filling

  • ¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces (56 g) semisweet chocolate
  • ¾ cup (150 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • cup (104 g) light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups (226 g) pecans, chopped

Instructions

Make the crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  • Combine the melted butter and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
  • Pour the chocolate butter mixture into the flour and toss together until evenly mixed. The dough will the thick.
  • Press it evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

Make the filling

  • While the crust is baking, place the butter and chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir well. If the chocolate isn't fully melted, heat in 10-second intervals until fully melted. Stir well after each interval.
  • Whisk in the sugar, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt until combined.
  • Add the egg and whisk until fully incorporated. Stir in the pecans.
  • Pour the filling over the hot crust.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges begin to firm up. (The center will remain wobbly like it is underdone. That is okay. It will firm up as it cools.)
  • Cool the bars completely on a wire rack.
  • Lift the foil out of the pan to remove the bars and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the bars into 16 pieces.

Notes

The bars need to be cooled completely before cutting. If you are short on time, put them in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.
Make ahead tip
  1. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  2. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 234mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 267IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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51 Comments

  1. How far in advance could you make these? Would you refrigerate or freeze or just leave out? Love these for Thanksgiving but prefer make ahead desserts for that day.

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      The bars can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or you can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

  2. Is it okay to use a butter substitute? I have a relative with a dairy allergy.

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      I haven’t tested these with a butter substitute so I’m not 100% on how they would turn out. I imagine it would be okay to do though. However, there may be slight changes in taste and texture.

  3. Jen, have you tried substituting kahlua for the bourbon?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      I haven’t tried it but I’m sure it would be delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    The second part says microwave chocolate and butter for 30 minutes. Is that 30 seconds?

    1. Yes, Lisa. That should read 30 seconds.

  5. 5 stars
    The second part says microwave chocolate and butter for 30 minutes. Is that 30 seconds?

  6. Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy says:

    Pecans? Chocolate? Bourbon? ‘Nough said.

  7. Sina @ Vegan Heaven says:

    What a great idea, Jen! This looks so delicious! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Sina!

  8. Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats says:

    LOVE Chocolate and Pecan together! These look delicious!