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Sunday, September 22, 2013

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Still warm and gooey...German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
by Victoria Challancin

I am certain the good folks at Betty Crocker had my Mom in mind when they created this dessert. She so loved German Chocolate Cake, an American staple having nothing at all to do with Germany, that I can only imagine somehow that love transferred itself through the airways to Betty Crocker's Kitchens when her favorite dessert was being transformed into a modern incarnation. 

These bars are a modern spin-off of that beloved cake, but much easier to make.  And they don't disappoint--the luscious gooey richness still shines through in perhaps a more manageable way.

From an earlier post, where I gave my Mom's recipe for German Chocolate Cake, I wrote a bit about the history of the original cake dessert, before it morphed into "pie bars": 

In spite of the slightly exotic name of this cake which hints of the Old Country, German Choclate Cake is a thoroughly American concoction...Dating to the 1920s, this rich chocolate cake, lightened with beaten egg whites and filled with a gooey caramel frosting enriched with coconut and pecans, became extremely popular in the 1950s, when it surely entered my life as a little girl.  Named after Samuel German, an employee of the Walter Baker and Company, the cake was originally made with the company's sweet baking chocolate, and it still is, if you have access to German's Sweet Chocolate; if not, any good semi-sweet chocolate works fine...

Instead of the feather-light chocolate cake of the original recipe, these bars are dense.  Not only is the "frosting" gooey, but there is also an extra layer of melted chocolate nestled between the top layer and the bottom layer of cocoa-rich pastry.  Because of its richness, this dessert is served in small squares--which is all the average eater could possibly manage at one go, including me, an inveterate chocoholic. ;-)
Uncooked gooeyness

Cooked gooeyness

Cook's Notes:  I didn't bother to line the pan with foil as I have a 13x9-inch pan with a separate top, which makes the bars easy to store.  I also used regular coconut as I don't have access to flaked.  Instead of spraying the pan, I greased it with butter.  As these were made in one of my weekly cooking classes, we didn't have enough time to properly cool the bars before cutting, hence the gooey yumminess which is hopefully apparent in the photos. 

Recipe:  German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
(Recipe from
Makes 24 

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

1 1/2 cup cups semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup flaked coconut
3 cups broken pecans, toasted

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line bottom and sides of 113x9-inch pan with heavy-duty foil, extending foil 2 to 3 inches over 2 opposite sides of pan.  Spray foil with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a food processor, place flour, powdered sugar, 3/4 cup butter and the cocoa. Process with quick on-and-off pulses until consistency of coarse meal.  Press in bottom and 3/4 inch up sides of pan.

Bake 15 minutes.  Remove from oven; sprinkle chocolate chips over crust.  Cool completely in pan on cooling rack, about 30 minutes.

In medium bowl, mix brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter and the eggs with whisk until smooth.  Stir in coconut and toasted pecans.  Spoon over crust.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and set.  Cool completely in pan on cooling rack, about 1 hour.  Refrigerate 1 hour.  Use foil to lift out of pan onto cutting board.  Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.

A still-warm piece of deliciousness on one of my Mom's Wedgwood plates

Parting Shot:  California Ferns

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Please ask permission before using text or photos.  Thanks!


Eha said...

Oh my: German Pie Bars named after Mr German and California Ferns you have in Mexico and I in my garden in E Australia! Well, have never made this and I better not go near a mirror if I do decide on this 'cooked gooeyness' ~ but you do put matters so very appetizingly :D !

Nancy/SpicieFoodie said...

I love German chocolate cake but haven't eaten it in a very long time. Your dessert has my name all over it! Thanks for sharing:)

Yvette @ Muy Bueno said...

LOVE the idea of turning this cake into bars. I bet they are fantastic!!! A must try! Betty Crocker and your mom know their stuff ;)

Yvette @ Muy Bueno said...

LOVE the idea of turning this cake into bars. I bet they are fantastic!!! A must try! Betty Crocker and your mom know their stuff ;)

Kalyan Panja said...

Just mouthwatering...looks delicious!

Hotly Spiced said...

These bars look amazing. I haven't seen a bar with that kind of a topping. I would like to make these. I'm sure they'd be a huge hit with all the hungry kids in this house xx

runescape gold said...

Since these were created in one regarding my every week cooking courses, all of us didn't have ample time to properly neat the particular bars prior to cutting, to ensure the gooey yumminess that's with any luck , apparent from the pictures.

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Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I love German chocolate cake so I know that I would be crazy about these bars.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I was just asking today about German chocolate cake! And here you have the answer Victoria-thank you thank you thank you!! :D said...

Hi there:

I must apologize for not visiting often but my life has gotten very complicated and then my computer went nuts on me and I lost all my mails from gmail. I am back and running and don't think you were forgotten...i do enjoy all your stories, recipies, etc...un beso

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