Healthy Pecan Pie Bars

recipes sweets Nov 16, 2020

With all of the amazing Thanksgiving foods to enjoy, it can be hard to designate one dish as my favorite. I’ve always been a have-some-of-everything type of girl, but if I had to choose, pecan pie would most certainly be up there on my list.

It’s always a staple at our holiday get-togethers and most certainly a dessert that brings back childhood memories. But as y’all now, one of my favorite activities is taking my long-time favorite foods and adding a little Goodness With G twist. And these Healthy Pecan Pie Bars are no exception!

When I shared these with Sam, his mom and sister as my official taste testers, they all said verbetum that there was NO way these bars could actually be healthy – they turned out that dang tasty.

And not to toot my own horn or anything, but I agree. This recipe perfectly shows that food doesn’t need to be complicated in order to be delicious – simple and nourishing always wins in my book!

But don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE and will continue to enjoy real deal pecan pie when available – holidays are meant to be enjoyed without deprivation or guilt. I simply enjoy getting creative with these healthier versions  .

Not only are my pecan pie bars a more nutritious alternative, but they also only require SIX ingredients total…insane! This includes:

  • Pecans
  • Almond flour
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut oil
  • Vanilla
  • Salt

Easy peasy!

I feel like almost all of my recipes lately have been pecan-heavy, but for good reason. They’re one of the best fall ingredients (in my opinion) and an incredibly healthy addition to both sweet and savory recipes.

Pecans actually have the same cancer-fighting antioxidants as walnuts, and they’re loaded with essential minerals, including manganese and copper. Plus, they’ve also been associated with lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and increased triglyceride levels.

You can read more about the power of these nuts and many others I regularly include in my diet in my Why I’m Nuts About Nuts (& You Should be Too) post!

Likewise, one of the main healthy swaps in this recipe is maple syrup in place of refined regular or brown sugar. Though still sweet and delicious, maple syrup also provides a variety of antioxidants and has a lower glycemic index than traditional sugar (meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar as dramatically).

This adds a touch of sweetness to the crust and that signature caramelized goodness to the pecan topping, which is always the best part of this dessert, right?

The crust in general is a fantastic, gluten-free alternative to your classic shortbread that requires nothing more than almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and a pinch of salt. You could likewise use this as the base for basically any filling/topping of your choosing, and you’re good to go.

Once baked and cut into squares, top off these simple and drool-worthy bars with some of your favorite flaky sea salt, and trust me, you’ll be happy you did. That sweet and salty combo just can’t be beat.

Personally, I’ll be whipping up a double batch of these babies to bring to my family’s Thanksgiving celebration this year, and I sure hope you decide to do the same!

Be sure to give me a shout on social media or leave a comment below if you decide to bring these along for your own festivities. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all  .

 

 YIELDS9 Servings
 
 
Crust
  •  2 cups almond flour
  •   cup coconut oil, melted
  •  ¼ cup maple syrup
  •  1 tsp vanilla
  •  ¼ tsp salt
Pecan Filling
  •  2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
  •  ¾ cup maple syrup
  •  2 tbsp coconut oil
  •  1 tsp vanilla
  •  flaky sea salt (for topping)

 

 

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, and set aside.

To a bowl, add all of the crust ingredients, and mix to combine completely.
Pour crust into the lined baking dish, and use your fingers to press into an even layer.
Bake crust for ~15 minutes, until slightly golden. When finished, set aside to cool.
While cooling, make the pecan filling. Add maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla to a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring consistently.

Add pecans, and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

Pour the pecan mixture over the crust, and smooth into an even layer.
Place back in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into 9 bars (the mixture will harden as it cools).

You can even place the baking dish in the fridge (once cooled at room temp) prior to cutting to make slicing easier.

Sprinkle bars with flaky sea salt, and serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!

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