If you're looking for a snack that clearly screams FALL, then look no further because I have you covered. These Brown Butter Maple Pecan Bars can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, snack time, or dessert.
This is a simple cookie dough that's baked into a square baking dish and cut into bars. These couldn't be much easier to make. You could also bake them into cookies if you don't have a 9 x 9-inch dish by simply forming them into 24 disks that are about 2 inches in diameter. Preheat the oven to 375°F and bake for 11 minutes (or 8 minutes for High Altitude). This is definitely a two in one recipe. So bake them whatever way you want.
I used brown butter for the frosting. If you have never made brown butter before, it is really simple. Browning the butter gives it a much more complex flavor and it is equally delicious if not more so, then regular butter. It tastes sweeter and a little nutty, it's really the perfect fall flavor.
Brown Butter Maple Cookie Bars
1 stick organic salted butter (browned)
142 grams (1 cup) organic powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon organic milk
1 stick organic salted butter, softened
113 grams (1/2 cup) packed organic dark brown sugar
28 grams (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 organic large eggs
255 grams (2 cups) organic all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon organic cinnamon
96 grams (3/4 cup) pecans, chopped
To brown the butter: In a small saucepan, add the 1 stick of butter for the frosting. Put over medium heat, and allow the butter to melt. Once the butter melts it will start to bubble up and turn white, and if this happens just remove it from the heat until the bubbles settle down so you can keep an eye on the color. Cook the butter until it turns a maple syrup color, milk solids will sink to the bottom forming little dark specs. The aroma will also smell sweet and nutty. Once this happens, remove from heat. Allow it to cool until it is a solid again. This can be done the day ahead of making these bars, make sure it is a solid before using it to make the frosting.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
To make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, dark brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix on low until combined and there are no chunks of butter. Add the eggs and mix just slightly, enough to break the yolks.
In a separate bowl, add the flour, sea salt, baking soda, and cinnamon and whisk together. Add to the butter mixture and mix on low until combined into a dough. Add the pecans and mix on low until combined.
Using your hands form the dough into the prepared pan, making sure it is evenly pressed. Bake for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan before removing. Once cool, remove from the pan and flip over.
To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the browned butter, powdered sugar, and milk. Mix on low until combined, then speed mixer up to high for 1 minute or until light and fluffy.
Using a spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the top of the bars. Cut into 9 bars.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Gluten Free – Replace the flour with 269 grams (1 3/4 cups) organic gluten free flour blend.
High Altitude – Bake at 325°F for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.