Spiced Caramel Pecan Bars

I’m finally starting to get into the Christmas spirit!  I’ve been humming along to Christmas carols and doing a bit of online gift shopping. I love finding the perfect little something for everyone. I’ve also already squeezed in a little holiday baking!

I made my first batch of cookies this weekend to share at Shannon’s annual cookie swap! There were tons of decadent treats and such lovely company – Boston really has the best food blogging community. To check out what everyone brought (and vote for your favorite cookie!), check out Shannon’s recap here.

My bar cookie contribution was centered around warm spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves), an ooey gooey layer of caramel, and a crunchy pecan topping. After whipping up a spiced sugar cookie dough, I mixed a small portion of it with both ground and chopped pecans. I baked the remaining dough, topped the partially baked bars with caramel sauce, and then crumbled the pecan dough on top and finished the up in the oven. Yum!

Spiced Caramel Pecan Bars
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup ground pecans (I pulsed whole pecans in the food processor until ground)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 10-ounce jar Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce from Trader Joe’s 

Directions:
Heat oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Mix in eggs and vanilla extract; stir in flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, baking powder, and salt until soft dough forms. Place 1/2 cup dough (4.5 ounces) in a medium bowl and stir in ground and chopped pecans; knead until the nuts are well incorporated. Spread remaining dough in bottom of a greased 13×9-inch pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350˚F or until light golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven and evenly spread caramel sauce on top. Crumble pecan dough evenly on top and bake an additional 13 to 17 minutes at 350˚F or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour, and cut into bars. Makes 32 bars.

Nutrition: 201 calories, 11.5g fat, 1.1g fiber, 2.3g protein per bar
Cost: $0.26 per bar

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17 Responses to Spiced Caramel Pecan Bars

  1. Maria says:

    I love bar treats and these look great!

  2. These sound so delicious! Kind of like pecan pie in bar form.

    I’ve never been to Boston, but I’ve actually thought the same thing about your blogging community before. Not sure if you read “We Are Not Martha,” but they’re Boston based, and it seems like they’re always hanging out with other bloggers!

    I’m super jealous down here in DC!

  3. Wish I could have stayed for the swap… these bars look outrageous! I love caramel and pecans together.

  4. It’s desserts like these that I wish I liked nuts! I probably would have tried to pick them out this looks so good! Wish I could have made Shannon’s swap!

  5. Michelle says:

    Since I’m not the biggest chocolate fan, this dessert looks like perfection to me!

  6. LOVE all the spices in these bars! Perfect for this time of year.

  7. Danielle says:

    A whole jar of caramel?! I’m in heaven!! I love that this recipe doesn’t use corn syrup.

  8. Megan says:

    Ooh. I’ve made caramel sauce with those spices. I imagine it translates so well to a caramel pecan bar cookie.

  9. Lauren says:

    Delicious looking! I love pecans and caramel.

  10. shannon says:

    these were fabulous! thanks for sharing them with us :)

  11. Joanne says:

    I would tell you exactly how long this pecan bar lasted once I got home. but it is embarrassingly short. Delicious!

  12. Kelly says:

    I loved the sound of all these spices when I read about them on Shannon’s recap of the swap (You got my vote. :-) ) and like them just as much as I read about them here. They sound completely decadent and spicy.

  13. Cara says:

    I really, really loved the unexpected warm spices. Such a sophisticated and welcome way to change up a classic!

  14. grace says:

    outstanding! lots of goo (spiced goo, at that!) and a shortbread crust make for a mean treat!

  15. I love that caramel sauce! I could pretty much just drink it.

  16. Nicole, RD says:

    I love the salty-sweet combination! These look fantastic…and the cardamom in there…mmm!!! I think cardamom is my new favorite spice in sweets! Happy holidays :)

  17. sophia says:

    Oh how lovely, Kerstin! I’m going to a Christmas cookie exchange in a few days myself. I wish you were one of the attendees!

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