PECAN CHEESECAKE SQUARES

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INGREDIENTS:

For the shortbread layer

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans

For the cheesecake layer

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the pecan pie layer

  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups pecans

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. For the shortbread layer: In a medium bowl, combine flour and ¾ cup brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in ½ cup pecans. Press mixture evenly into bottom of a greased 9×13″ baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven, and cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  3. For the cheesecake layer: Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with a paddle attachment, and beat at medium speed until smooth. Beat in sugar. Add milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and beat until combined. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cooled shortbread layer. Bake for 15 minutes; remove from oven and cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  4. For the pecan pie layer: In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ¾ cup brown sugar, corn syrup, and melted butter. Gently stir in the eggs, salt, and remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir in 1½ cups pecans. Pour pecan mixture over cooled cheesecake layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until center is set and pecan pie layer is a rich brown color.