Blackberry and Pecan Cream Bars
I wanted to end summer on a high note, and I have to say these Blackberry and Pecan Cream Bars did just the trick! The actual bar layer is simply fantastic; rich in buttery flavor and made with a deliciously nutty pecan flour, the texture compliments the fluffy cream cheese topping oh so well. I’ve added blackberries to these, but any berry or fruit would be great. I really enjoyed the sweetness and mild tang from the blackberries, and I think next time I may add some peaches but if I’m honest, I’m probably not waiting until next summer to make these!
Something to take note of: These bars can be made in a stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer. I find them easier to make using a handheld mixer because I don’t have to re-wash that stand mixer bowl repeatedly.
For the pecans and pecan flour, I highly recommend Schermer Pecans.
I’ve lined my baking dish with foil and parchment paper. The parchment paper keeps the bars from sticking of course and the foil acts as a secondary liner. Placing the foil in the baking dish first is not a necessary step but it will be very helpful when it’s time to remove the bars and cut them for serving.
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
1 cup gluten-free flour (1:1 measure) or unbleached, all-purpose flour
¾ cup pecan flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely chopped pecans
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
2 pints blackberries
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil, just overlapping the edges. Line again with parchment paper. The parchment paper keeps the cake layer from sticking while the foil will help with removing the bars for serving.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and 1 cup of sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl down until fully incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat in one teaspoon of vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, pecan flour, baking powder, and salt together. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until just combined. Stir in chopped pecans. Using a spatula, spread mixture evenly into baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Allow bar layer to cool completely.
In a clean or separate bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Add second cup of sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in second teaspoon of vanilla extract.
In a clean or separate bowl, beat heavy whipping cream at medium speed until it becomes thick. Increase speed to high and beat until a stiff peak forms. Fold one-third of the cream into cream cheese mixture slowly, until just combined. Fold in remaining whipped cream until just combined.
Spread cream mixture evenly over bar layer until smooth. Lightly press blackberries onto cream top until fully coated. Cover and place in freezer for up to 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Before serving, remove bars from freezer and allow to come to room temperature for 20 minutes. Using the foil and parchment paper excess, lift and remove bars from baking dish. Trim about ¼” around edges of bars. Cut bars into 12 pieces (using a hot knife will make for cleaner cuts). Refrigerate bars until ready to serve.