Charleston Chewies

A buttery brown sugar center with a slightly crunchy outer layer is what makes these chewy and gooey Charleston Chewies an irresistible dessert bar. Many Lowcountry picnics, potlucks, bake sales, and family gatherings aren’t complete without these Gullah-inspired delicacies.

When it comes to dessert I never know whether to go for brownies or cookies, but I do know I prefer them both chewy like these Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies or these Molasses Cookies.

Charleston Chewies covered with powdered sugar on parchment paper.

Why This Recipe Works

Charleston is known for its buttery pecan dessert combinations and these chewies are no different. These bars can best be described as a brown sugar blondie and are similar to Cinnamon Squares, but they’re less cakey than a blondie or brownie, they’re chewier.

If you happen to visit a Charleston pot-luck or picnic you’ll likely get to enjoy some of these chewies, also known as pecan chewies. They’re extremely easy to make, though there are several variations of this recipe. I prefer to melt the butter and then mix in the brown sugar. I also use only brown sugar, whereas some recipes use a combination of sugars.

You also won’t need to look much further than your pantry for these simple pantry ingredients that make up this recipe.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Charleston chewies ingredients in different sized bowls.

Ingredient Notes

  • Pecans: for this recipe, you will need chopped pecans, which you can mix into the batter or sprinkle on top. You could also use pecan halves and cover the tops of the bars instead of mixing them if you’d like. If you don’t like pecans you can also sub in walnuts instead or leave them out entirely.
  • Vanilla: generally, I like to use almond extract in baking, but I prefer the vanilla in this recipe. You can also do a combination of the two if you’d like.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Charleston chewies process steps 1 and 2.
  • Melt the butter. In a medium saucepan or skillet melt the butter over medium heat until completely melted.
  • Mix in the brown sugar. Add the brown sugar to the saucepan and stir the mixture into the butter until fully incorporated. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Charleston chewies process steps 3 and 4.
  • Add the vanilla and eggs. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes before whisking in the vanilla and eggs.
  • Combine the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Charleston chewies process steps 5 and 6.
  • Fold the batter together. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and fold them together. Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang on the sides and pour the batter into the pan.
  • Bake. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 325ºF, or until a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean.
  • Dust. Once the bars have cooled completely dust the tops with powdered sugar.

Helpful Equipment

  • 9×9 Baking Pan
  • Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil
  • Whisk: you’ll need a good strong whisk to mix the batter once it gets thick.
  • Mixing Bowl: I have so many mixing bowls, but really love white ones.
  • Dusting Wand: this helps to get a really pretty sprinkled look on top of the bars. If you have a mesh sieve or a flour sifter you can also use those.
Charleston chewies stacked on top of each other on parchment.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • You can use as many or as few chopped pecans as you like. I prefer to sprinkle mine on top, but many recipes suggest mixing them into the batter.
  • Try some almond extract for added flavor. Instead of using 2 teaspoons of vanilla use 1 teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon of almond extract for an extra intense nutty flavor that is divine.
  • To store Charleston chewies keep them in an air-tight container. They do not need to be refrigerated.
  • During the cooking process, the bars will fall during the center. These bars aren’t going to be perfectly even squares like brownies, which is what makes them great because they’ll have that dense middle.

FAQs

Can I leave off the powdered sugar?

Yes. The powdered sugar is both pretty on top and adds a little more sweetness, however, you can omit it from the recipe if you’d like.

Can I use a different type of nut?

Sure! You can use a different type of nut such as walnuts, macadamia nuts, or whatever you prefer. They can also be left out of the recipe entirely.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below. You can also share a photo and tag me on Instagram using @AimeeMarsLiving and #AimeeMars.

Charleston chewies stacked on top of each other on parchment.

Charleston Chewies

A buttery brown sugar center with a slightly crunchy outer layer is what makes these chewy and gooey Charleston Chewies an irresistible dessert bar. Many Lowcountry picnics, potlucks, bake sales, and family gatherings aren't complete without these Gullah-inspired delicacies.
4.84 from 24 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 9 Squares
Calories: 575kcal
Author: Aimee Mars

Equipment

  • 9×9 Baking Pan
  • Medium Saucepan
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Dusting Wand

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2 large Eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Chopped Pecans
  • 1 tablespoon Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325ºF and a line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang on the sides.
  • In a medium saucepan or skillet melt the butter over medium heat until completley melted.
  • Add the brown sugar to the saucepan and stir the mixture into the butter until fully incorporated. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes before whisking in the vanilla and eggs.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and fold them together (you can also fold in additional pecans if you'd like).
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean.
  • Let the bars cool completely before dusting the tops with powdered sugar.

Notes

  • You can use as many or as few chopped pecans as you like. I prefer to sprinkle mine on top, but many recipes suggest mixing them into the batter.
  • Try some almond extract for added flavor. Instead of using 2 teaspoons of vanilla use 1 teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon of almond extract for an extra intense nutty flavor that is divine.
  • To store Charleston chewies keep them in an air-tight container. They do not need to be refrigerated.
  • During the cooking process, the bars will fall during the center. These bars aren’t going to be perfectly even square like brownies, which is what makes them great because they’ll have that dense middle.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 575kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 163mg | Potassium: 302mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 697IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 2mg
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About The Author

Aimee

I’m thrilled you’ve stopped by my space here and love to connect with new friends through food. I’ve always felt sharing meals brings people together, which is one of the many reasons I began this site.

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35 thoughts on “Charleston Chewies

  1. 1 star
    It is nothing like my husband’s grandmother recipe…I made it 2x to make sure I didn’t make a mistake but it came out the same way both times…very disappointing…I cried when I lost the recipe and was hoping I would find a duplicate or close to it….this recipe was definitely not it…

  2. Oh these were very good easy to follow recipe and everyday ingredients , my family doesn’t like nuts so I cooked them without very good but next time two dishes one with one without. Love them my new go to treat.

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