Makes 24 bars
For the crust:
(1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the baking pan
all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for flouring fingers
For the filling:
packed light brown sugar
(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
pure vanilla extract
semisweet chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 350° F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment, buttering in between and leaving an overhang on all sides; butter the parchment.
- Make the crust: In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, sugar, and salt; process until fine crumbs form. With floured fingers, press the dough into the prepared pan and bake until just beginning to brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes; coarsely chop. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugars, butter, honey, and cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the pecans, dates, and vanilla.
- Spread the filling over the crust, sprinkle with the chocolate chips, and let cool in the pan for about 1 hour.
- Holding the paper overhang, lift the pecan bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 24 rectangles (6 rows by 4 rows).