Pecan freezer squares

Recipes from The Cookie Bible

by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Pecan freezer squares
(Courtesy of Harper Collins)

These squares have all the delicious merits of pecan pie and more! They are crunchy and butterscotch-gooey, but less sweet than most pecan pies because they are made with golden syrup and eaten frozen. The cookie crust does not get tough on freezing. These can be made weeks ahead and served straight out of the freezer.

Makes 25 1 ½ inch squares


Pecan Squares  1 of 3  

Sweet Cookie Crust (Pâte Sucrée)

Makes: 315 grams/1 cup

unsalted butter

85 grams

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick)

1 (to 2) large egg yolk

19 grams

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon (17.5 ml)

heavy cream

29 grams

2 tablespoons (30 ml)

bleached all-purpose flour

150 grams

1-1/4 cups (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off)  

fine sea salt


1/8 teaspoon

turbinado or granulated sugar

37 grams

3 tablespoons

Pecan Squares  2 of 3

Pecan Filling

Makes: 370 grams/1-1/4 cups/296 ml

unsalted butter

57 grams

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick)

4 (to 6) large egg yolks

74 grams

1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons (69 ml)

pecan halves

170 grams

1-2/3 cups

golden syrup 

(or corn syrup)

113 grams

(109 grams)

1/3 cup (79 ml)

light brown sugar, preferably Muscovado

108 grams

1/2 cup firmly packed

heavy cream

58 grams

1/4 cup (59 ml)

fine sea salt


a pinch

pure vanilla extract


1 teaspoon (5 ml)

Pecan Squares  3 of 3


Chocolate Lace Topping

* Decorate the top before slicing and allow the chocolate to set completely before wrapping and freezing.

Makes: 53 grams/2-1/2 tablespoons/37.5 ml

dark chocolate, 60% to 62% cacao

28 grams

(1 ounce)


heavy cream

29 grams

2 tablespoons (30 grams)


  1. Preheat the oven thirty minutes or longer before baking, set two oven racks at the middle and lowest levels of the oven. Set the oven at 425°F / 220°C.
  2. Cut the butter into ½ inch cubes and refrigerate.
  3. Into a 1 cup / 237 ml glass measure with a spout, weigh or measure the egg yolk. Whisk in the cream. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  5. In a food processor, process the sugar until fine.
  6. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until the sugar coats the butter.
  7. Add the flour mixture and pulse until the butter pieces are no larger than small peas.
  8. Add the egg yolk mixture and pulse just until incorporated. The dough will be in crumbly pieces unless pinched.
  9. Scrape the dough into a plastic bag and press it from the outside of the bag just until it holds together. Remove the dough from the plastic bag and place it on a very large sheet of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to knead the dough a few times until it becomes one smooth piece. There should be no visible pieces of butter. (Visible pieces of butter in the dough will melt and form holes during baking. If there are any visible pieces, use the heel of your hand in a forward motion to smear them into the dough.
  10. Flatten the dough into a rough 6 inch square. Roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap into a 9 inch square. Use a bench scraper or ruler to square it off.
  11. Slip the dough onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes, or until firm but still flexible.
  12. The dough also can be refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months.
  13. Peel off the top sheet of plastic wrap and invert the dough into the prepared pan. Leave the bottom sheet of plastic wrap in place and, with your fingers or a small pastry roller, press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan and 1 inch up the sides. You can use a small metal spatula to even off any excess on the sides and to press the dough into the corners to fill in any empty spaces. Remove the plastic wrap.
  14. Crumple a 12 inch square of parchment so that it conforms to the size of the pan. Lightly spray the bottom of it with nonstick cooking spray and set it on top of the dough. Add enough rice or beans to fill it about three-quarters full, pushing them up against the sides.
  15. Set the pan on the lower oven rack. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to 375°F / 190°C and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is set. If not set, the dough will stick more to the parchment. Carefully ease away the parchment from the edges. Lift out the parchment with the weights and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes more, until the crust is pale gold and set but still soft to the touch.
  16. Remove the pan to a wire rack.
  17. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F / 175°C.
  18. Thirty minutes to 1 hour ahead, cut the butter into tablespoon-size pieces. Set on the counter to soften. Shortly before cooking, into a medium heavy saucepan, preferably nonstick, weigh or measure the egg yolks. Break or chop the pecans into coarse pieces.
  19. Make the filling: Have ready a strainer suspended over a medium bowl near the cooktop. To the egg yolks in the saucepan, add the butter, golden syrup, sugar, cream, and salt and stir with a silicone spatula. Cook over medium- low heat, stirring constantly, without letting the mixture boil, until it is uniform in color and just beginning to thicken slightly, about 7 to 10 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer should read 160°F / 71°C.)
  20. Immediately pour the mixture into the strainer, scraping up the thickened mixture that has settled on the bottom of the pan. Press it through the strainer and scrape any mixture clinging to the underside into the bowl. Then scrape the mixture into a 2 cup / 473 ml glass measure with a spout. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  21. Assemble the cookie: Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the baked crust.
  22. With the cup’s spout just above the pecans, slowly and evenly pour the filling over them. Once all the filling has been added, the pecans will float.
  23. Bake the squares: Set the pan on the middle oven rack and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling is lightly puffed and golden. The filling will shimmy slightly when the pan is moved. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the center should read 190° to 200°F / 88° to 93°C. Check early to prevent overbaking, which would result in a dry filling.
  24. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool completely, about 45 minutes.
  25. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the aluminum foil. Lift out the pastry by grasping the two opposite ends of the foil and set it on a counter. Run a small offset spatula underneath all four edges of the pastry. Then slip a large pancake turner under the pastry and use it to slide it off the foil onto a cutting mat or board.
  26. Use a long sharp knife to cut twenty-five 1½ inch squares.
  27. Wrap each pecan bar in plastic wrap and store them in a reclosable freezer bag in the freezer.