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German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

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German Chocolate-Pecan Pie Bars is a dessert with unsurpassed chocolate decadence! The chocolate shortbread crust is topped with a layer of creamy chocolate and a layer of coconut pecan pie filling. You and your German Chocolate-loving friends will be in heaven!

As with any baking project, the secret to stress-free baking is planning ahead. Gather your ingredients and carve out a couple of free hours, then enjoy a little baking.

a place of bar cookies with a crunchy pecan topping

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars with Shortbread Crust

Perusing recipes is one of my favorite past times. A few years ago I was flipping through an issue of Southern Living magazine and discovered this recipe for German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars with a shortbread crust. It sounded like perfect chocolate decadence to me, so I decided to make it for a party we were hosting.

I’m so glad I decided to give it a try! It was a big hit, especially with my friend whose favorite dessert is German Chocolate Cake. If you also love German Chocolate Cake, then today’s dessert recipe is definitely one you should try, too.

Don’t be daunted by the fact that these German Chocolate-Pecan Pie Bars take a little extra time and effort to make. First, you bake, then cool, bake again, cool again, and so on — these cookie bars are so worth it!

German Chocolate FAQs

What exactly is German Chocolate anyway?

Baker’s Chocolate Company released a new mild chocolate baking bar in 1852 and named it after its creator, Sam German. People now commonly refer to the baking bar as German Chocolate, but it’s real name is German’s Sweet Chocolate.

Where did German Chocolate Cake come from?

Would you believe that German Chocolate Cake was developed by a homemaker in Texas and not from Germany? Mrs. George Calay’s recipe was first published in 1957 as the Dallas Morning Star newspaper’s Recipe of the Day.

What is the difference between German’s Sweet Chocolate and Semi-Sweet Chocolate?

The main difference is that German’s Sweet Chocolate is sweeter and milder than semi-sweet chocolate.

What can you substitute for German’s Sweet Chocolate?

For every ounce of German’s Sweet Chocolate in a recipe you may substitute one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa, one tablespoon plus one teaspoon sugar, and one teaspoon vegetable shortening. Today’s recipe, however, does not require vegetable shortening since we are not adding melted chocolate to the shortbread crust.

a stack of coconut pecan pie bars on a stone plate

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars Ingredients

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process which has a rich dark chocolate flavor.
  • All-purpose flour for the shortbread crust. You don’t want the crust to rise, so there is no need to add baking soda or baking powder.
  • Confectioner’s sugar, or as we know it in the South, powdered sugar.
  • Butter for the crust and the pie filling. Keep the butter for the crust cold so that it’s easier to cut into the flour and make a crumbly mixture for the shortbread.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Brown sugar — I prefer to use light brown sugar in this recipe.
  • Light corn syrup to give the filling a more delicate flavor. Light corn syrup is flavored with vanilla, so no need to add the extract.
  • Eggs to bind it all together.
  • Sweetened flaked coconut adds to the chewy, gooey texture.
  • Pecans — in halves and pieces and toasted to improve their texture and keep them crispy during baking.

Three tips for stress-free baking

  1. Before you begin, read the recipe to review the ingredients and make sure you have everything you need on hand.
  2. Read the recipe again — this time to soak in the instructions so that you know what’s coming before you get started.
  3. Practice mise-en-place, the French practice of gathering ingredients and tools needed for preparing a recipe. Prep and measure all the ingredients before you start baking and everything will go much quicker and easier.

Layers of chocolate goodness!

  1. Chocolate Shortbread. This dessert starts with a simple chocolate shortbread that is made by pulsing together flour, cocoa, and butter in a food processor and then pressing it into an aluminum foil lined baking pan.
  2. Creamy Chocolate. Semi-sweet chocolate chips are sprinkled on the warm crust and once they start to melt are spread evenly.
  3. Coconut Pecan Pie Filling. The final layer is a basic pecan pie filling made with toasted pecans and sweetened flaked coconut.

How do you store and/or freeze German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars?

Once you’ve baked, cooled, and chilled these cookie bars (see the recipe for details), lift them out of the pan and cut into squares. Serve immediately, or store at room temperature tightly covered for three to four days.

To freeze German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars, place the cooled, chilled, and cut bars in a resealable plastic freezer bag in a single layer. Seal tightly and freeze for up to a month. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight.

Cookie bars are great dessert options for parties and picnics because they are easy to transport, but most importantly they’re always popular and tasty, too!

a chef's knife cutting German pecan pie bars on a piece of aluminum foil
Line baking pan with greased aluminum foil for easy removal and cutting of dessert bars.

German Chocolate-Pecan Pie Bars Recipe

One important tip to remember when you make these bars is that the crust will begin to form as you firmly press it into the prepared aluminum foil-lined pan. Take your time when pressing the crust along the sides as it takes a bit of patience.

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This recipe was originally published on March 18, 2014 and last updated on September 9, 2019.

Yield: 24 bars

German Chocolate-Pecan Pie Bars

a plate loaded with cookie dessert bars

These gooey dessert bars are the ultimate in chocolate decadence with a chocolate shortbread crust, chocolate pecan pie filling, and toasted pecans. 

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Shortbread Crust

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process preferred)

Pecan Coconut Filling

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3 cups pecan halves and pieces, toasted

Instructions

Toasted Pecans:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the pecans on a rimmed pan for about 10 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

Chocolate Shortbread Crust:

  1. Line a 13- x 9-inch cake pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, allowing a couple of inches to extend over sides. Spray the foil lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Add flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix. Add cold, cubed butter to the bowl and pulse another 5 to 6 times until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour the crumbs into the pan and press to form a crust on the bottom and 3/4 inch up sides of the pan.
  3. Bake crust for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over crust. Once the chocolate begins to soften (about 5 minutes) gently and evenly spread with an offset spatula to cover the crust. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Coconut Pecan Filling:

  1. Whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, and melted butter. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Stir in coconut and toasted pecans. Pour mixture over the chocolate crust.
  2. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and set. Cool completely on a wire rack (1 hour). Refrigerate for 1 hour before removing from the pan.
  3. Using the aluminum foil, lift the bars out of the pan onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.

Notes

    • Make German Chocolate-Bourbon-Pecan Pie Bars by mixing in 1/4 cup bourbon into the coconut pecan pie filling before baking.
    • Remember that the crust will begin to form as you firmly press the shortbread mixture into the prepared pan. Take your time when pressing the crust along the sides as it takes a bit of patience.
    • Store bars tightly covered at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
    • Original recipe by Southern Living, September 2012

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 337Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 89mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 25gProtein: 4g

Did you make this recipe?

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars | Life, Love, and Good Food
Original image for German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars by Life, Love, and Good Food

ABOUT SHEILA
Sheila Thigpen, author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. Living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters and two fine sons-in-law, are active in their church, love to travel, and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. Follow Sheila on YouTubePinterestInstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

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Jane Trovato

Saturday 22nd of March 2014

Just printed the recipe. Can't wait to try these (-:

Karen Millsaps

Wednesday 19th of March 2014

These are sinfully wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sheilathigpen

Wednesday 19th of March 2014

Thank you, Karen! Glad you liked them :)

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