Back Alley Bread is currently selling mouthwatering baked goods in the mornings at The Mallard Drake (43 Franklin St.) as the bar awaits its grand opening.  

For this week’s Community Cookbook submission, Back Alley Bread owners Autumn Moultrie and Brian Villanueva have shared their recipe for one of their fall favorites, Butter Pecan Shortbread Bars.

Learn how to make the delicious treats below. See last week’s Community Cookbook recipe here

Back Alley Bread’s Butter Pecan Shortbread Bars


For the shortbread crust:


1 cup of unsalted butter 

2/3 cup of granulated sugar

¼ cup of brown sugar

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of salt

2 ¼ cup of all-purpose flour

For the butter pecan top:

½ cup of unsalted butter

½ teaspoon of salt

2/3 cup of light brown sugar

½ cup of wildflower honey

3 tablespoons evaporated milk

2 large eggs, beaten

2 ½ cups of lightly toasted pecans, halved 

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract


Toast pecans: 

  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. 
  2. Toast pecans for 5-7 minutes, stirring and rotating frequently to help bring out the oils in the pecans and ensure that they don’t become soggy after baking in the filling. 
  3. Remove pecans from the oven and place them to the side to cool.

Prepare shortbread crust: 

  1. Melt butter in small saucepan, swirling the pan frequently, until butter starts to brown slightly and develop a nutty aroma.  
  2. Once you see brown bits start to develop at the bottom of the pan and the butter start to become golden brown remove the butter from the heat and cool for 15- 20 minutes at room temperature. 
  3. Scrape the butter from the saucepan with a rubber spatula into a standing mixer bowl. 
  4. Add both granulated and brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt to the standing mixer bowl. 
  5. Mix on medium speed with paddle attachment until well combined. 
  6. Add in flour and mix for 1 minute on low speed until soft dough is formed.  
  7. Evenly press dough into a 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper. (Leave some of the parchment paper to hang over the edges of the pan to assist with easy removal of the bars.) 
  8. Bake the shortbread dough in a 350-degree preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until it firms up and is lightly browned.

Prepare the butter pecan filling: 

  1. In a medium saucepan melt the ½ cup of butter. 
  2. Then add the salt, brown sugar, honey, and evaporated milk to the saucepan and cook over medium heat whisking until the mixture somewhat comes together. (The mixture will still appear slightly broken.) 
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and then remove it from the heat. 
  4. Let the mixture cool in the pot for 2 minutes.  
  5. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk them lightly. 
  6. Pour about 1/3 of the hot mixture into the eggs while continuously mixing, to temper the eggs. 
  7. Then pour everything back into the pot and whisk until completely combined. 
  8. Add the toasted pecans and ½ tsp. vanilla extract. 
  9. Stir until combined with a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

Bake filling on top of shortbread crust: 

  1. Pour the pecan mixture over the cooled shortbread crust, spreading the pecans evenly. 
  2. Bake in 350-degree oven for 35-38 minutes checking frequently and rotating to prevent dark spots. (Center should be set and not jiggly when the bars are cooked through.)
  3. To check if the bars are properly cooked through, insert a cake tester or toothpick in the center. (The toothpick should come out clean when removed.) 
  4. Cool bars on a rack completely for at least an hour before cutting. 

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