These pecan pie cheesecake bars are two of the best desserts in one! Creamy cheesecake filling sits on a buttery graham cracker crust and is covered with a delicious pecan pie and maple topping that is easy and delicious! Make these dessert bars for any holiday get together, you’ll be glad you did!
These cheesecake bars just taste like the holidays. Sweet, creamy, and full of pecan and maple goodness! As a bonus these bars come together faster than either a pecan pie or classic cheesecake. That’s what I’m talking about!
Every year I make pecan pie for Thanksgiving. It’s a staple. And I’ve always been a sucker for cheesecake. But, sometimes I need something that’s a little quicker and easier than either a homemade pie or full-blown cheesecake. Enter – these pecan pie cheesecake bars! Want to try this easy holiday dessert for yourself? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Graham Crackers
- Cream Cheese
- Heavy Cream
- Vanilla and Maple Extract
- Pure Maple Syrup
- Brown Sugar
It seems like a laundry list of ingredients, I know. But! The process of making the bars and the topping is so easy you won’t even realize you’ve used all the ingredients.
How to make Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars
- Make the crust. It’s a beautiful combo of graham crackers (I like to use cinnamon!), pecans, butter, and brown sugar. Amen.
- Make the filling. It’s a very easy cheesecake batter that’s sweetened with pure maple syrup and scented with vanilla and maple extract. Yum!
- Bake the cheesecake bars. Without a water bath! Huzzah! I love how quickly and easily cheesecake bars bake up.
- Cool and chill the bars. This part is similar to regular cheesecake, you just can’t rush this part!
- Make the topping. It tastes just like pecan pie! It’s sweet and syrupy and smooth. So good! And so full of delicious pecan pieces.
- Cover the chilled cheesecake. With the pecan pie topping.
- Serve the bars. I like to cut them into 15 pieces. Then the squares aren’t too small but aren’t too big. They’re just right. We’re getting all goldilocks about it!
Cheesecake bar tips and tricks
- How to tell when cheesecake bars are done? Much like a regular cheesecake, overcooking is the death of good cheesecake bars. Take these bars out when the edges are set but the center still slightly wobbles. Not a full-on wavy jiggle, and not totally set. Look for a wiggle that looks like set Jell-O in the center of the cheesecake bars.
- Watch how much you whip! When adding eggs to these cheesecake bars it’s important not to overwhip the batter. Adding too much air into the batter when incorporating the eggs will cause the cheesecake to behave like a souffle – it will rise and fall and possibly crack. By just barely incorporating the eggs, you’ll be sure to wind up with smooth, flat bars.
- Using pure maple syrup. We are very blessed in Wisconsin to be surrounded by some of the best maple syrup makers in the country. We buy bottles from a local farm near our home, but most grocery stores now carry real maple syrup. Make sure the bottle says “pure, Grade A syrup” and that the ingredients only list maple syrup. Anything labeled as “maple flavored syrup” is best left on the shelf!
- Chopped pecans versus pecan halves. So, this recipe calls for 1 cup of pecan halves and then, separately, 1 ½ cups chopped pecans. These are two very different things. For instance, if I took 1 cup of pecan halves and chopped them into pieces, it would actually wind up being less than 1 cup of pieces. By chopping the pieces and making them smaller, more pieces can fit into the measuring cup than when they’re in halves. Does this make sense?
Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars
- 9x13 baking pan
- Food Processor
For the crust:
- 12 graham cracker sheets (about 1 ½ sleeves, I like to use cinnamon flavored for this recipe)
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 TBSP brown sugar
- 8 TBSP unsalted butter melted
For the filling:
- 24 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. maple extract
- 2 TBSP flour
- ¾ cup heavy cream
For the topping:
- 6 TBSP unsalted butter
- ½ cup + 1 TBSP pure maple syrup
- 6 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
- 3 TBSP heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with baking spray and set aside.
For the crust:
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, pecan halves, and brown sugar together until the mixture resembles sand. Pour in the melted butter and pulse to bring together. Mixture should be damp and hold together when pressed.
- Pour the crust into prepared baking pan and press into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the edges are beautifully golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
For the filling:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and salt until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to be sure there are no lumps.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined after each addition. Stir in the maple syrup, extracts, flour, and heavy cream until smooth.
- Pour batter into prebaked crust and bake the cheesecake bars at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes, or until edges are set and center just barely wiggles when pan is shaken.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature on wire rack. Cover cheesecake bars with tinfoil and refrigerate for 4 hours, preferably overnight.
For the topping:
- When the cheesecake bars are chilled, prepare the topping.
- In a medium-sized shallow saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar, and maply syrup together until smooth.
- Bring the sugar mixture up to a boil and stir in pecans. Cook for two or three minutes before stirring in heavy cream. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Pour slightly cooled topping over bars before slicing and serving.
- Pecan Pie Cheesecake bars will keep in the fridge for up to five days.
- Refer to post for differences between pecan halves and chopped pecans, as well as helpful recipe tips!