Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars

I just finished off 2/3 a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a Diet Coke. I’m planning on calling that dinner.

Practicing being a grown-up, you know?

If you’re an actual grown-up or just someone who actually has their stuff together, you’re probably really tired of hearing us talk about not being adults, failing at being adults, wondering how you act like an adult, etc. But, I dunno, as someone who is going to have to start having real adult problems and responsibilities in, like, ten months, I guess I’m a bit fixated. Also, according to pretty much every interview conducted with a female celebrity, your 20s are a time of figuring everything out. Which means it must be true.

So, basically, I’m sorry. But I’m about to talk about my confusion with being a grown-up again. Aaaand, go!

This installment of “Wait. What does it actually mean to be a grown-up?!” centers on the pretty much huge difference between what I expected would happen when I got older and what has actually happened in reality as I’ve gotten older. To give away the punchline: I’m slightly disappointed.

Things that I thought would come with age:

  1. Motivation. I totally thought I was going to wake up one day at 6am and be ready to work out and tackle my to-do list. And then that would just be my life. I would be that woman who doesn’t struggle to get out of bed before noon and who doesn’t waste entire days re-watching Grey’s Anatomy in her bed. So far, this has not panned out. The past week, I’ve hated my alarm when it goes off at 830am, have struggled to put my running shoes on more than twice, and have watched approximately two seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. And I have crossed approximately three things off my to-do list in that span… So, yeah. I’m wrong about this one so far.
  2. Resolve. In the event that I didn’t magically acquire motivation with age, I at least thought I would learn some resolve. By this I mean, I thought I would learn how to make myself do things I don’t want to do because I know they need to get done/they’re good for me/I should. Considering that I still put off doing my laundry until I run out of underwear (and then sometimes buy more to put it off some more), I don’t think I’ve learned this skill yet. Wrong again, Kate.
  3. Perfectly clear skin. This is maybe the one that I’m the most annoyed by. I seriously thought that one day I would wake up with perfect skin and I wouldn’t have to wash my face or wear concealer ever again. How come that’s not how biology works? I consider this to be a great injustice.
  4. An interest in cooking dinner every night. I’ve had either oatmeal or a PB&J for dinner five times a week for the past few weeks. Combined with #1 and #2, I think this will continue for awhile.

Things that have actually come with age:

  1. Guilt. About the fact that none of the above are true. About how much money I’m spending. About how little I got done today. About how I still sleep until noon some days. About not showering every day. About not understanding how to decorate my apartment. Maybe this will someday turn into List 1’s #1 and #2. A girl can dream.
  2. Noticing wrinkles in my clothing. And caring about them. The fact that one of out ten times I cannot walk out of the house without ironing my shirt/dress/pants is supremely annoying to me. I used to never understand when my sister would tell me my pants were wrinkled. Like honestly, I was unable to see what she was talking about. Not the case anymore. ALL I can see on my clothes now is wrinkles and lint. I guess this is a good thing since it makes me more presentable… but UGH.
  3. An interest in jewelry and lipstick. I swore I would never wear lipstick. Within the past year, I have purchased five tubes of it. I’ve worn the same two necklaces since my freshman year of college. In the past two weeks, I have purchased FIVE necklaces. I feel like my face and my outfit look incomplete if I’m not wearing some form of lip color and jewelry. This and #2 make me feel so high-maintenance right now. Relatedly: Despite never having an interest in them before, I want all the throw pillows for my apartment lately. I DON’T UNDERSTAND.
  4. More expensive taste. I mean, I think that I benefit from this as much as I’m harmed by it. I get to enjoy my fancier mustard and my cage-free eggs, and my beers that aren’t Keystone Light. And I also get to wear clothes that are better tailored and higher quality. But sometimes, my bank account misses the days that I didn’t notice that Key Light tastes terrible and that dresses from Banana Republic really do fit me better (and last longer) than dresses from Forever21.
  5. Gray hairs. Yep, at age 25, I have those. Like, a lot of them. I think that maybe this is genetic considering my mother had a gray streak in her teens. Still. I have gray hairs. I expected them… just not so soon.

I could go on for awhile, but you’re here for the good stuff. So I’ll get on with it.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars

Makes about 15 bars


3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

2 oz bitter- or semisweet chocolate
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 large eggs
3 cups brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup bourbon
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecan halves


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 10″ square baking pan. Cover with parchment, leaving a 2 inch overhang and grease again. No seriously.
  2. Make your crust. Beat your butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and cream together. Add flour and salt. Mix until crumbly, but incorporated. Then turn out into your pan and press into a crust. Bake for 20ish minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  3. As that cools, make your filling. Place chocolate and 1 tbsp butter in a bowl. Microwave until melted.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar. Stir in bourbon, chocolate, butter, vanilla, and flour.
  5. Fold in pecans. Pour onto crust.
  6. Bake until set, about 30 minutes. This was hard to tell for me because the top gets crusty and beautiful, but it’s hard to see what’s going on underneath. I took to jiggling the pan to see if it moved much. After about 32 minutes, it didn’t seem to move as much. So I called it.
  7. Cool thoroughly. These are runny, so if you cut into them too early, you will have a (delicious) mess on your hands. Let them sit out for about 30 minutes. Then I would suggest moving them to the fridge or freezer to cool completely before you cut them.
  8. Store them in the fridge. They’ll keep for about a week there; three weeks in the freezer.

Recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

I mean, growing up’s not all bad, I guess. With age came an appreciation for bourbon, after all. And I’m only halfway through my 20s. So there’s still hope for List #1, I guess.

Bake with love!!



    1. Not a typo. They’re very sweet. If you want to cut down on the actual sugar, I’ve seen recipes that substitute corn syrup for some of the sugar. Thanks for checking!

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