Thanksgiving is so close I can taste it. But the stress of it is real. I’ve tried to help with my apple slab pie. If apple isn’t your thing, or you’re looking for another relatively easy-to-make option, these bourbon chocolate-pecan slab bars may do the trick. While the anticipation of cooking for large groups can feel overwhelming, the wonderful thing about this holiday is that the foods are generally supposed to be simple. No one expects you to flambé anything table-side or make soufflés for 40.
So this year more than ever, I’m about embracing simplicity and making it stress-free–as much as possible, that is. (If you’re a Pinterest person, check out my Pinterest boards. I have a board solely dedicated to Thanksgiving recipes and tips, and another on general entertaining.)
For big entertaining holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, organization is essential. Simply planning out your menu, shopping list and prep schedule will help this holiday run smoothly and hopefully allow you to enjoy it as well. No one can make everything in one day, nor should you try. Much of the prep work should be completed the day prior, if not sooner. Thanksgiving Day itself should be about tending to the turkey and assembling and reheating all the various dishes that you’ve made in advance. Enter these easy make-ahead bourbon chocolate-pecan slab bars.
Pecan pie is a seasonal favorite, as is traditional pumpkin and even my favorite, sweet potato tart. But making numerous pies can prove challenging. Pecan slab bars take away some of that prep work. Slab bars are a fantastic large-group option for any upcoming holiday gathering. They can be made in advance, they are slightly easier (and less messy) than pies, and a little goes a long way. If you’re serving for a holiday, as with my apple slab pie, I suggest that you serve these decadent bars with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream.
For this recipe I use a simple shortbread crust to balance out the sweet, rich, chocolate-pecan filling so this holiday dessert bar can hold up well when made in advance. So don’t panic, even as the 48 hour Thanksgiving countdown begins, take it all in stride and enjoy the holiday. You deserve it.
Bourbon Chocolate-Pecan Slab Bars
- For the Shortbread Crust:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- For the Chocolate Layer:
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Dash of salt
- For the Pecan Filling:
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 6 eggs
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups pecans, roughly chopped
- Dash of salt
- For the Chocolate Drizzle: (optional)
- 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Step 1 For the Shortbread Crust: Line a 12×9″ baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment and pan and set aside.
- Step 2 In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar and beat on high until pale yellow. Reduce the sped to low and add the cream cheese, mix until well incorporated. Add the flour and mix to blend. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Step 3 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Step 4 Allow the dough to warm up for a few minutes on the counter. Place the dough in the prepared baking pan and using your hands, gently press the dough to the bottom of the pan as evenly as possible. It does not need to be perfect. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes to set. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Step 5 For the Chocolate Filling: In a medium saucepan add the heavy cream and place over a low flame. When almost boiling, remove from the heat and add the dark and milk chocolate. Using a whisk, blend until the chocolate is completely melted. Cool slightly. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt and mix well to blend. Set aside.
- Step 6 For the Pecan Filling: In a large mixing bowl add the corn syrup, sugar, eggs, bourbon and vanilla. Mix well to blend. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the pecans and dash of salt. Set aside.
- Step 7 To Assemble: Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the par-baked shortbread crust. Use a large rubber spatula to spread out the chocolate as evenly as possible.
- Step 8 Next, pour the pecan filling on top of the chocolate layer. Use a spatula to smooth. Place in the oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes until set in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Step 9 For the Drizzle: For my bars, I added a little chocolate drizzle to the top once the bars cooled. Not required, but it adds a nice touch. To do so, place the chocolate and butter in a small microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 second intervals until melted. Mix well to blend. Use a fork or spoon to drizzle the chocolate back-and-forth in a zig-zag patter. Allow to set before slicing.