Carolina Pecan Bars

Indulge in Southern Bliss: Carolina Pecan Bars

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Are you searching for a dessert that captures the essence of Southern charm and hospitality? Look no further than our Carolina Pecan Bars recipe! Bursting with the rich flavors of pecans, butter, and maple, these decadent bars are sure to become a favorite at any gathering. Join us as we explore the art of Southern baking and learn how to make this delightful treat step by step.


Carolina Pecan Bars are a delightful Southern dessert that embodies the warmth and flavor of the region. With a buttery pecan cake base topped with a creamy maple frosting, these bars are a true indulgence for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or simply craving something sweet, these bars are sure to please. So let’s dive into the world of Southern baking and discover how to make these irresistible Carolina Pecan Bars!


For the Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter (two sticks)
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk

For the Frosting:

  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 12 oz cream cheese (1 ½ packages), room temperature
  • ⅔ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk


  1. Prepare Pecans: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped pecans and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Make Cake Batter: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the white sugar and 1 cup of butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract and maple extract.
  3. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the whole milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  4. Fold in Pecans: Gently fold the toasted pecans into the cake batter until evenly distributed.
  5. Bake: Pour the batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish and spread it out evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan.
  6. Make Frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, ⅔ cup butter, vanilla extract, and maple extract until smooth and creamy. If the frosting is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to achieve the desired consistency.
  7. Frost Bars: Once the cake has cooled completely, spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake. For a decorative touch, sprinkle additional chopped pecans on top of the frosting.
  8. Chill and Serve: Refrigerate the bars for at least 1 hour to allow the frosting to set. Once chilled, cut into squares and serve.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Add a Touch of Bourbon: For a grown-up twist, add a splash of bourbon to the frosting for extra flavor.
  • Try Different Nuts: Swap out the pecans for walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts for a different flavor profile.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use a gluten-free flour blend in place of all-purpose flour to make these bars gluten-free.
  • Experiment with Frosting Flavors: Get creative with the frosting by adding a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or orange zest for a unique flavor twist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I make these bars ahead of time? A: Yes, you can make the cake and frosting ahead of time and store them separately. Simply frost the bars just before serving for the best results.

Q: How should I store leftover bars? A: Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring them to room temperature before serving for the best taste and texture.

Q: Can I freeze these bars? A: Yes, you can freeze the bars (without frosting) in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and frost them before serving.

Q: Can I make these bars keto-friendly? A: Yes, you can make a keto-friendly version of these bars by using almond flour instead of all-purpose flour and a keto-friendly sweetener in place of white sugar.

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Carolina Pecan Bars are a delightful indulgence that captures the essence of Southern baking. With their rich, buttery cake base and creamy maple frosting, these bars are sure to please even the most discerning palates. Whether you’re serving them at a holiday gathering or enjoying them as a special treat, these bars are guaranteed to impress. So why wait? Whip up a batch of Carolina Pecan Bars today and savor the delicious flavors of the South!

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