For the crust:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, sliced
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
For the bar topping:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 3 cups pecans, shelled and coarsely chopped
- sea salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan or line it with parchment paper leaving enough to overhang on the sides.
- In a light-colored skillet over medium heat, melt 1 cup of the sliced butter, stirring occasionally. The lighter color skillet will help you see when the butter begins to brown.
- The melted butter will begin to foam; continue stirring until it begins to have lightly browned specks at the bottom of the pan and has a nutty aroma, about 5-8 minutes. Transfer it away from the heat immediately.
- In a large bowl, combine the browned butter, the granulated sugar, the vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
- Stir the flour into the sugar mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Press the crust mixture into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake the crust until golden, about 15 minutes.
- While the crust bakes, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk the remaining butter, the brown sugar, the maple syrup, and the heavy cream together until the brown sugar has dissolved.
- Bring the brown sugar mixture to a boil and allow it to cook for 3 minutes.
- While the brown sugar mixture is boiling, carefully transfer 1/2 cup of it into a glass measuring cup.
- Slowly drizzle the beaten eggs into the transferred brown sugar mixture in the measuring cup until thoroughly combined, continuously stirring quickly so the eggs do not scramble.
- Slowly drizzle and whisk the egg and brown sugar mixture back into the boiling pot.
- Transfer the filling away from the heat and stir in the pecans.
- Pour the filling over the cooked crust.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, about 30-35 minutes. If the top is getting too brown while baking, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
- Transfer the baked bars from the oven and cool completely.
- Cut into squares, sprinkle with the sea salt, and serve.