Food & Drink

Darius King’s Pecan Chewy Bars

The Garden & Gun Club sous chef offers a sweet, gooey dessert reminiscent of his Charleston roots

Photo: Courtesy of Darius King

In Darius King’s family, making pecan chewies is more than a tradition—it’s a bit of a friendly rivalry. “It’s become pretty competitive,” says the chef, a native of Charleston, South Carolina. “Everyone in the family swears they make the best ones. I had to fight tooth and nail just to get a recipe out of any of them!” Today, King is the sous chef at the Garden & Gun Club in Atlanta, Georgia, where he introduced diners to his own take on the gooey, nutty bars. “No one here seemed to know what they were at first, but now people are constantly requesting them,” he says. 

Darius King.

Influenced by an aunt’s “secret” recipe and King’s own background in pastries—prior to culinary school, his first job was as a cake decorator at Piggly Wiggly—the dessert comes across as a distant cousin of pecan pie. “It really comes down to the consistency,” King notes. “Like the name suggests, the bars should have some good chewiness—you should be able to really bite in.” Be sure not to overbake them, though; too much time in the oven can result in an unwanted firmness. “The tray will still have a little jiggle to it when it’s done. It’ll settle as it cools, so let it sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving.” For a final flourish, King showers the cooled bars with powdered sugar. “I know it’s all sugar already, but a little more on top never hurts.” 


    • 1 cup unsalted butter

    • 1 cup sugar

    • 1 cup light brown sugar

    • 2 eggs

    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

    • 1 cup flour

    • ½ tsp. salt

    • 1 cup pecans, chopped

    • ½ cup powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, and coat the paper with plenty of non-stick baking spray, shortening, or softened butter. 

  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow to cool slightly. 

  3. In a mixing bowl, use the paddle attachment to mix butter, sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix in eggs one at a time until well incorporated. 

  4. Add flour and salt until well combined, followed by the chopped pecans.

  5. Bake until bars are golden brown and set, about 30–40 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving. 

  6. Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar.


    The Garden & Gun Club at the Battery Atlanta is open for lunch and dinner and accepts walk-in diners and reservations. Online ordering for pick-up is also available. Visit the Club’s website for more information.