For the crust:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch pieces
For the filling:
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 3 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
- Cover a 9-inch square baking pan with heavy duty foil, pushing the foil neatly into the corners and up the sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to overlap the edges and have some overhang.
- Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place the flour, the cornstarch, the confectioners’ sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt into a food processor fitted with a blade attachment.
- Pulse the mixture into the food processor together, pulsing only a few times.
- Add 1 stick of the cold, unsalted butter to the food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-size clumps.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan, pressing it firmly into an even layer on the bottom with your fingers.
- Refrigerate the baking pan for 15 minutes.
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake the crust until set but not browned, about 17 minutes.
- Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack to cool, leaving the oven on.
- In a heavy, medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the remaining butter, the brown sugar, the honey, the vanilla, and the remaining salt, stirring and heating until the sugar dissolves.
- Increase the heat to medium-high.
- Boil the mixture gently for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the heavy cream and the chopped pecans.
- Pour the pecan mixture over the crust (it is okay if the crust is still warm).
- Bake until the filling is bubbling and caramel in color, about 20 minutes.
- Let the pecan squares cool completely on a wire rack.
- Use the foil overhang to lift the squares out of the pan and onto a cutting board.
- Slice and serve.