Caramel Pecan Dream Bars

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Caramel Pecan Dream Bars

Caramel Pecan Dream Bars, those delectable confections that inspire a realm of sweet fantasies, have become an extraordinary revelation in my culinary journey. I owe my newfound awareness of these irresistible treats to The Recipe Tin Project, a culinary endeavor that delves into the captivating world of vintage recipes. Had it not been for this project, these mouthwatering bars might have remained a hidden gem, lost in the annals of culinary history. They embody a perfect fusion of simplicity and indulgence, demanding just about five minutes to prepare and relying on kitchen shortcuts readily available in your pantry. This makes them the epitome of a dessert that can be whipped up on a moment’s notice, a tantalizing temptation that beckons, “Savor me now!”

These bars possess an irresistible allure, characterized by their sticky, saccharine, toffee-infused essence, which undeniably beckons the sweet tooth within. It’s little wonder why Emily, a discerning culinary enthusiast, felt compelled to immortalize this delightful creation on paper. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

The Recipe Tin Project, as its name suggests, is an ambitious initiative that entails embarking on a gastronomic voyage through a vintage recipe tin brimming with age-old culinary secrets. The treasure trove contained within this tin predominantly dates back to the ’60s and ’70s, a culinary time capsule preserving the flavors and techniques of yesteryears. As a passionate advocate for food history, the objective is to breathe new life into these time-honored recipes, perhaps unearthing forgotten techniques and culinary wisdom along the way. Each recipe card is a unique artifact, showcasing distinct handwriting styles, and some even adorned with charming illustrations, while others bear the marks of countless cooking endeavors, smudged and stained.

The recipe for these Caramel Pecan Dream Bars originates from a certain ‘Emily,’ whose handcrafted card embodies a charming blend of cursive and print, adorned with a sweet illustration in the top left corner. A nostalgic sense permeates the card, evoking the late ’70s or early ’80s, a time when this dessert gem likely graced the tables of home bakers. Interestingly, Emily’s card stands apart from many others in the collection, showcasing an impeccable lack of spills, tears, or smudges, hinting that it might not have seen as much use as one would expect—a true culinary injustice. Furthermore, one could surmise that this recipe might have had its roots in the marketing strategies of brands like Pillsbury cake mix or Bits o’ Brickle, judging by the product names listed on the card. Yet, regardless of its commercial origins, it remains an undeniably winning and remarkably easy-to-make dessert.

These delightful bars boast a soft, cakey base that forms a harmonious contrast with the gooey, sticky, and sweet topping, generously studded with pecans, imparting a delightful crunch to the soft foundation below. While they may not exude an overwhelmingly caramelly essence, the unmistakable presence of toffee flavor gracefully weaves its way through each bite. In any case, their deliciousness transcends such nuances.

A heartwarming testament to their allure came from an unexpected source—my father-in-law. He serendipitously dropped by while these luscious bars were still resting on the counter, and after indulging in one, he proclaimed with sheer delight, “What are these? This is one of the best things I’ve ever had!” Granted, his enthusiasm for my baked creations is consistently effusive, but it never fails to bring joy to my heart. And indeed, Caramel Pecan Dream Bars have a way of invoking such reactions, making them a dessert that genuinely lives up to their dreamy name.

Now, as we delve into the creation of these irresistible treats, we find that the essence of their charm begins with a straightforward list of ingredients:


For the Crust:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1/3 cup of soft margarine
  • 1 egg

For the Filling:

  • 1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup of bits o’ brickle baking chips


  1. To embark on this delectable journey, preheat your oven to a toasty 350°F and generously grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with a welcoming coat of nonstick spray. Then, in the spirit of culinary alchemy, mix together the cake mix, velvety margarine, and a single, golden egg. The result will be a crumbly, flavorful mixture that you’ll lovingly press into the bottom of your prepared pan.
  2. Now, for the magical filling that crowns this dessert masterpiece, gather your can of sweetened condensed milk, a generous cup of finely chopped pecans, and a half cup of those tempting bits o’ brickle baking chips. Pour this heavenly concoction over the waiting crust, allowing it to spread like liquid gold, promising a symphony of flavors to come.
  3. Slide your pan into the preheated oven and let this enchanting creation bake for a modest 25 to 30 minutes. As you watch through the oven window, the bars will slowly transform, a work of culinary art in progress, the base firming up while the filling caramelizes and achieves that perfect gooey consistency.
  4. But wait, my fellow dessert aficionado, patience is key! Let your creation cool before yielding to the temptation to cut into it. This cooling process allows the flavors to meld and solidify, ensuring that each bite is a perfect rendition of the dreamy bars we so ardently seek. And then, as you savor your creation, relishing the blend of textures and flavors, you’ll understand precisely why my father-in-law’s enthusiastic declaration echoed through your kitchen—”This is one of the best things I’ve ever had!” Indulge in the sweet, nutty, toffee-infused symphony of flavors and savor the knowledge that you’ve just unlocked the magic of Caramel Pecan Dream Bars.