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Shirley Temple's Pecan Squares

This recipe threw me for a loop de loop!

Shirley Temple really needs no introduction, but I'll give her one anyway. She was one of the biggest movie stars in America from 1934 - 1938. Her charm and boundless optimism helped to lift the spirits of the nation during the Great Depression. As an adult, she retired from acting and launched a career in politics. In 1988 she wrote "Child Star: An Autobiography". Temple's list of extraordinary achievements include serving as the United States Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

The Recipe

The recipe is from the book "Food and Fashions of 1936".

Unfortunately this recipe threw me for a loop de loop! I tested the Shirley Temple Pecan Squares and stuck very faithfully to the original recipe. It did NOT end well. The result was basically a chocolate cake with pecans that completely cratered in the middle and was super dry and crumbly. I asked my followers on Facebook for advice. Should I try to simply make a chocolate cake and throw some pecans in it? Should I make conventional pecan squares from another recipe?

Fortunately my friend Mary Stanford saved the day. She found the below recipe at and it captures the idea of Shirley's recipe, but is much more fully realized. It looks to be a perfect blend of chocolate and pecan pie goodness!


9 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate chips or baking chocolate 9 ounces equals 1 ½ cups

1 stick unsalted butter if using salted butter, omit salt

⅔ cup sugar

2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk room temperature

¾ cup all purpose flour measured correctly, spoon flour into your measuring cup, then level the excess off the top using a knife and pulling it across the cup

½ teaspoon salt

Pecan Pie Filling

¼ cup unsalted butter

½ cup brown sugar packed

1 ½ cups pecans chopped (they are easier to cut if the pecans are chopped smaller, than a rough chop, depending on your preference)

¼ cup heavy cream

pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray or lightly grease an 8x8 baking pan. For easy removal, line with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large, microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds, stir and repeat microwaving for another 30 seconds until chocolate is melted.

Add sugar and beat well, then add in eggs and mix in.

Add flour and salt and stir until just combined, do not over mix for chewy brownies, if you do, you get cake-like brownies. Pour batter into baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let brownies cool.

Pecan Pie Filling

In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the butter and brown sugar. Bring to a low boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, being careful not to let it burn. Stir in pecans, heavy cream and salt. Remove from heat.

While the filling is still hot, spoon topping over cooled brownies. Spread topping evenly over the top of the brownies and add a couple tablespoons of mini chocolate chips if desired.

Store brownies covered, in the refrigerator or room temperature.

Heat up in microwave for a sweet treat with a scoop of ice cream and fudge or caramel sauce. Enjoy!

If using brownie mix, prepare to make in 8x8 pan, or double the filling and bake brownies in a 9x13 pan.

Special Guest

Los Angeles native Adrienne Omansky majored in Recreation Therapy and Theater at UCLA and taught Adult Education Teacher for thirty-eight years. She taught commercial acting and currently is the Director of the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program that uses theater to educate older adults about senior fraud. Over the years, she trained older adults for new careers in acting and was responsible for getting them jobs in commercials, videos, movies and television. Adrienne’s Uncle and Aunt once worked for the Temple family and collecting Shirley Temple memorabilia is her number one hobby.

The Final Result

We finally achieved a happy landing on a chocolate bar! Behold the dazzling results....

You can find plenty of Shirley Temple's films on DVD, Turner Classic Movies or Amazon Prime.


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