Pecan Pie Surprise Bars: Easy Cookie Recipe & Bake-Off Winner
By Pearl Hall, Snohomish,
Pecan Pie Surprise Bars taste just like pecan pie, but are
far easier to make and more portable.
The recipe uses corn syrup and pecans, key to a successful
pecan pie, but in place of a fussy pie crust is a simple cake mix base.
Like other cake mix cookie recipes, these bars can be mixed
together quickly. The cake mix makes putting the bars together easy because the
mix saves you steps.
This recipe is not only a winner when it comes to
simplicity, but also in nationwide popularity. It won the Grand Prize in the iconic
Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest # 22 in 1971, the first time the contest was held in
the great state of Hawaii.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45-55 minutes, divided
Makes 35 bars
1 package (16 - 18 ounces) yellow cake mix, such as Pillsbury®
Moist Supreme® classic yellow cake mix
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
Reserved 2/3 cup dry cake mix
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease 13 x 9 baking pan with
- Measure and reserve 2/3 cup of the dry cake mix to use for
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, mix
together the remaining dry cake mix, butter, and egg until well blended. Press
the base mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake the cookie base for 15-20 minutes or until light golden
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl using an electric mixer on low
speed, beat together the reserved 2/3 cup dry cake mix, brown sugar, corn
syrup, vanilla, and 3 eggs until ingredients are combined and well moistened.
Increase mixer speed to medium and beat the filling mixture for 1 minute.
- Pour the filling mixture over the warm cookie base. Sprinkle
pecans evenly over the surface of the filling.
- Bake the bars for 30-35 minutes longer or until filling is
set. Remove Pecan Pie Surprise Bars from the oven. Allow bars to cool completely on a wire rack,
about 45 minutes.
- Cut cookies into 5 rows by 7 rows (or in any other size you
- Store bars in an airtight container, with waxed paper in
between layers, in the refrigerator.
Heat oven to 350º F. Stir 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into dry
cake mix before removing 2/3 cup for filling. Decrease dark corn syrup to 1 ¼
A Special Baking Tip for
Making Pecan Pie Surprise Bars
Pecan pie filling is notoriously sticky. The filling in
these bars is no exception. Make sure you grease the 13 x 9 baking pan very
thoroughly before adding the base and filling. As an alternative to protecting
the shape of the Pecan Pie Surprise Bars, prepare the pan by lining it with aluminum foil, allowing ends
of foil to extend over two sides of the pan. Coat the foil with vegetable
spray. Once bars have baked and are cooled, grasp ends of aluminum foil and
lift them from the pan. Peel away the foil and proceed with cutting bars.
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