Toasted Pecan and Chocolate Bars

We hosted a cookie exchange this evening and a few hours before the event was set to begin, I realized that I had no cookies to exchange.  Oops!  Obviously, my only option was a bar cookie.  Quick and easy – a delicious shortbread layer topped with chocolate, nuts, and heath bar bits.  Yum.  

Ingredients for Shortbread Layer:

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of salt
2 cups flour

Ingredients for Topping:

1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans
1/3 to 1/2 cup Heath Bar bits

Directions:

Combine butter and brown sugar in a stand mixer and mix until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks and vanilla extract.  Mix.  Add salt and flour (one cup at a time) and mix well.  Batter will be very thick.

Layer a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper and spread (as best you can) the batter over the parchment paper.  Cook for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the cooked shortbread layer.  Put back in the oven for about 2 minutes.  Spread the melted chips evenly over the shortbread layer.  Sprinkle the melted chocolate with toasted pecans and Heath Bar bits.

(** To toast the pecans… I chopped them and then spread them in a pie pan and let them cook for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.)    

Let cool completely on the counter.  If you don’t have time for it to cool completely sitting on the counter (I speak from experience), stick the pan in the fridge for a bit (just a bit) before you cut it.  After the cookie is cool to the touch, the parchment paper will easily separate from the bar, allowing you to cut it into small squares with a large knife.

This shortbread layer can be used as the base for a wide array of bar cookies!  I got this shortbread bar recipe years ago from a friend and I generally top it with whatever ingredients I can find in the pantry.  I like to use the mini chocolate chips because I think they melt quicker and are easier to spread but you could really use any chips you have in the house.  Happy Sharing!

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