A rich and gooey layered brownie that’s more indulgent than a slice of pie. These pecan pie brownies are so simple to make and a delicious twist on the classic Thanksgiving dessert!
I have a real weakness for pecan pie filling. The gooey, caramely texture combined with crunchy pecans is truly irresistible! Don’t judge me, but when I make my homemade pecan pie, I can’t resist using a spoon to scrape up any leftover filling from the bowl as I wait for the pie to bake. It’s that good!
I have tons of brownie recipes on the blog, but my favorite cocoa brownie recipe is the one I turn to when adding extra layers, like these pecan brownies. The brownies are rich, fudgy and sturdy enough to support a thick layer of pecan pie filling. It’s a texture explosion with the moist, rich brownies and sticky, crunchy pecan topping. These brownie pecan bars are guaranteed to satisfy both brownie and pie lovers, and not to mention is a great Thanksgiving dessert idea!
How to make pecan pie brownies
- Make the brownie layer. Combine melted butter with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Then, add eggs one at a time and finally, the flour. Combine with a spatula being careful not to overmix and pour into a prepared baking pan lined with parchment paper, and leaving enough overhang to lift the brownies from the pan after baking. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350F/185C until the a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it. Set aside.
- Make the pecan layer. I highly recommend toasting the pecans first to really amplify the flavor. Then, heat the butter, sugar, salt, and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves, then remove from heat and let it cool slightly. Once cooled, whisk in the rest of the ingredients, adding in the chopped pecans as the last step. Mix everything together until well combined.
- Bake the brownies. Bake the brownies again for 20-25 minutes, until the pecan pie filling appears set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into them.
Tips for making perfect pecan pie brownies
- Don’t over mix the brownie batter, especially once you’ve added the flour. This can result in denser, more tough brownies and we want them to be extra gooey and decadent. I like to use a spatula to help combine the flour, which allows you to combine ingredients as gently as possible.
- Toast the pecans before adding them to the filling to enhance their flavor. You can do this by spreading them on a sheet pan and baking them at 200F/95C for about 8 minutes, giving them a toss about halfway through. Alternatively, you can place them in a large pan and toss them for a few minutes on medium heat until they become fragrant and slightly darker in color.
- Place the brownies in the refrigerator for a few hours to cool even further before slicing into squares. Since these are sticky, the extra chill from the fridge helps firm them up for easier cutting.
Commonly asked questions
Why do I need to bake the brownie layer first?
This solidifies the base of the bars, so when you add the pecan layer it doesn’t sink it the brownie layer. By baking the brownie layer first, it ensures you have two separate layers of deliciousness.
Does it matter what kind of cocoa powder I use?
Any cocoa powder will work in this recipe, although my preference is using Dutch-processed cocoa powder for it’s darker color and richer flavor.
Do I need to toast the pecans first?
Toasting the pecans before you add them to the filling really enhances their flavor, so I highly recommend not skipping this step.
Can I freeze pecan pie brownies?
Absolutely. These brownies can stay in the freezer for up to two months. Just be sure to double wrap them in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn.
More of my favorite brownie recipes:
- Cheesecake Brownies: Gooey brownies swirled with creamy cheesecake filling.
- Chocolate Coconut Brownies (GF): Another scrumptious layered brownie, these have a sweet coconut layer topped with rich chocolate ganache.
- Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies: Just like a peanut butter cup in brownie form!
- Snickers Brownies: All of the scrumptious flavors of a Snickers bar combined with rich, decadent brownies.
- 10 tablespoons (140g) unsalted butter
- 1 1/8 cups (225g) granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dutch-process, natural is ok too)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick/56g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (100g) light (or dark) brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) light corn syrup or pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups (250g) pecan halves, preferably toasted, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminium foil, leaving enough overhang on the sides for lifting the brownies out after baking.
In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt, and melt in the microwave in 30 second-intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the butter is melted (or melt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat). If the mixture appears gritty, that’s ok. If the mixture is hot, set aside for a few minutes until it’s warm.
- Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, stir in vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring after each one. Stir until the batter is thick and shiny. Add flour and stir until the mixture is well mixed and shiny. The batter will be thick. Spread evenly in the pan and smooth the top.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs, 20-25 minutes (when done baking, take the pan out of the oven to add the pecan layer on top).
While brownies are baking, make the pecan layer: Heat butter, sugar, and corn syrup/maple syrup together in a saucepan, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Let mixture cool slightly, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients, adding the chopped pecans last. Mix until combined. Gently pour the pecan mixture over the baked brownie, using a spoon or small offset spatula to carefully spread all the way to the edges. Bake until the pecan pie layer is golden and appear set, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. I recommend letting it set in the fridge for a few hours before slicing into squares.