This banana pecan bars recipe is a spin on Ina Garten's wildly popular pecan squares. With a butter filled shortbread crust and an easy caramel banana pecan topping, you are going to love these simple and scrumptious bars!
It's still technically summer, but the chill in the morning and evening air are making it hard to deny that fall is on it's way. Summer will always be my favorite season, but I am drifting towards thoughts of the grey and rainy days coming to the PNW. As the daylight grows shorter and the days and nights get cooler, it's time to start baking all the comforting treats.
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I recently had a reader say that she was looking for something easier than pecan pie for the upcoming holiday season. My mind instantly jumped to Ina Garten and her pecan squares recipe. But I wanted to give that recipe a bit of a spin, so I added a little bananas foster flavor and created another layered bar cookie.
Do these banana pecan bars contain corn syrup?
No. The caramel pecan layer of this bar uses honey and brown sugar to create the pecan pie-like topping.
What ingredients do I need?
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Large eggs
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Bananas (they do not have to be overly ripe)
- Ground cinnamon
- Dark rum
- Banana liqueur
- Brown sugar (I prefer using dark brown sugar)
- Heavy whipping cream
Let's make these pecan pie bars!
The first layer is a shortbread crust. Combine the room temperature butter and granulated sugar with a stand mixer or hand-held mixer until it's light and well combined. Then add the egg yolk, vanilla and salt and beat until fluffy. Finally add the flour in two additions, mixing until a soft dough comes together.
The dough can sticky; if you need to, lightly flour the dough and your hands to press it into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes and allow the crust to cool on a wire rack while you prepare the banana layer and the pecan caramel layer.
How to make the bananas foster layer
The bananas do not need to be overly ripe for this recipe, nor do you have to have a precise amount. Two medium size bananas should do the trick. Mash the bananas together with cinnamon, dark rum and banana liqueur and set aside. The cinnamon, rum and liqueur bring in the subtle bananas foster flavor.
How to make the easy pecan caramel topping
The pecan caramel sauce comes together quickly and easily on the stove top. First combine butter, brown sugar and honey in a heavy bottom sauce pan and melt together over low heat.
Once the mixture has melted together, raise the temperature to medium-high and boil the mixture for three minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy whipping cream, followed by the pecans. The addition of the heavy cream can cause the mixture to bubble up, so please use caution during this step.
Next it's time to put the two layers onto the shortbread crust. First, you will spread the banana layer over the slightly cooled crust leaving just a tiny edge. Then pour the caramel pecan topping over the banana layer and bake until the filling is set along the edges (it may still be a little loose in the middle, but will firm up as it cools).
Remove the banana pecan pie bars from the oven and allow to cool on a wire cooling rack. Once cool, wrap the pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut the bars into the desired size and enjoy!
Can I double this recipe?
Yes! This recipe doubles perfectly and can be baked in a 9x13 baking pan.
What is the best way to store pecan bars?
The banana pecan bars should be stored in the refrigerator. You can either wrap them individually in plastic wrap or store them in an airtight container.
They also freeze well (see notes in the recipe card) for up to three months.
Remember to snap a picture and tag me @twosugarbugs on Instagram if you make these Banana Pecan Bars. It warms my heart to see you bring these recipes to life! Thank you for being here and happy baking!
more recipes perfect for fall baking!
- Coconut Pecan Tart
- Pumpkin Caramel Spice Bars
- Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
- White Chocolate Pecan Pie
If you make this recipe (or any recipe!) from two sugar bugs please come back and leave a review and a star rating. I read every comment, and I LOVE hearing from you!
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick/113g)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (43g)
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (140g)
- 2 medium bananas, mashed ( approximately 218g)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons dark rum (8mL)
- 1 ½ teaspoons banana liqueur (8mL)
Banana Pecan Topping
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick/113g)
- ¼ cup honey (85g)
- ¾ cup brown sugar (150g)
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream (15mL)
- 1 ¼ cup pecans, coarsely chopped (180g)
- Shortbread base: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or using a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high, until light, about 3 minutes. Scrape up and down the bowl.
- Add the egg yolk, vanilla and salt and mix 2-3 minutes, until fluffy.
- Mix in the flour, in two additions, on low speed until just combined.
- Press the dough into an 8x8 baking pan, making a slight edge around the outside. The dough is sticky. You can lightly dust your hands and the dough with flour, if needed.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set, but not browned. Set pan on a wire cooling rack to cool while you prepare the banana layer and pecan layer.
- Banana Layer: In a medium bowl, mash the bananas together with the cinnamon, rum and banana liqueur. Set aside while you prepare the caramel pecan topping.
- Caramel Pecan Topping: Add butter, honey, and brown sugar to a heavy bottom sauce pan. Melt over low heat, using a wooden spoon to stir. Once melted, raise the heat to medium-high and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream followed by the pecans. Use caution as the addition of heavy cream will cause the hot mixture to bubble up.
- Spread the banana layer over the slightly cooled crust leaving just a tiny edge. Pour the caramel pecan topping over the top and bake 20-25 minutes more, until the filling is set along the edges, it may still be a bit loose in the middle.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, wrap the bars in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Remove the bars (using the parchment paper), cut into desired size bars and enjoy!
Store leftovers wrapped or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. The bars also freeze well in an airtight container or wrap the bars in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top bag.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten's Pecan Squares
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 246Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 43mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 2g
The nutrition information is an estimate and may not be entirely accurate.