Great in All Shapes and Sizes: Chewy Pecan Diamonds

When I have the time, I don't mind spending hours and hours on a complicated baking project. But when I'm baking for the office during the week, time constraints abound. Sometimes my recipe selection process boils down to two questions: 1) Can I make it fast?; and 2) Do I already have all of the ingredients on hand? That's how I decided to make Chewy Pecan Diamonds, because the answer to both questions was yes.

These are two-layer bars with a shortbread crust and a caramel-pecan topping. The crust comes together super fast in the food processor: you blend together flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt, and chilled butter. You press the dough into a parchment-lined pan and bake until golden. 

While the crust is cooling, you make the topping by bringing brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter to a boil; adding chopped pecans and heavy cream; boiling until thickened; and adding vanilla. You pour the mixture over the warm crust and bake.
These bars were beautiful when cut -- the crust and topping stayed perfectly neat. (As the recipe name suggests, you are supposed to cut them into diamonds, but I thought it would be wasteful to generate a bunch of odd-shaped remnants... So I just cut the bars into rectangles instead.) The bars were fantastic.

The combination of the buttery cookie crust and chewy caramel-nut topping was delightfully candy-like. The texture of the caramel was perfect -- chewy and pliable, like the inside of a candy bar. In the past I have made a similar pecan bar several times (these caramel pecan cookies), but I think this recipe is better. The other cookies always reminded me of pecan pie, where these bars read like a confection instead. So fun. So chewy. So delicious!

Recipe: "Chewy Pecan Diamonds" from

Previous Post: "It's Starting to Taste a Little Like Autumn (Caramel Pecan Cookies)," September 17, 2008.


Bourbonnatrix said…
I usually have a third question: how many dirty dishes is this recipe going to generate :)

Your bars look delicious! Great pic!