These healthy Maple Pecan Bars are just what you need for the holidays! A Paleo and Vegan pecan dessert that doesn’t taste healthy, but is made from real, wholesome ingredients. These bars are dairy free, gluten free and made with a few simple pantry staples. They’re basically an easy to make Paleo pecan pie in cookie bar form.
Apparently, Trader Joe’s has a Maple Pecan Shortbread Bar recipe that is pretty popular, especially this time of year. I shop at Trader Joe’s every now and then. But I don’t keep up with their latest products or seasonal offerings. Having never heard of their shortbread, I looked up.
The Trader Joe’s recipe isn’t all that bad, except that the shortbread is made from their Maple Pecan Shortbread Bar Mix. This mix contains wheat flour, loads of sugar and “natural” flavors. Being that I like my desserts Paleo and I’m gluten free, this definitely isn’t a product I would purchase.
Besides, when I’ve created a recipe as great as these Paleo and Vegan Maple Pecan Bars, there’s no need for a box of Trader Joe’s mix.
This Maple Pecan Shortbread recipe is:
- gluten free
- dairy free
- lower in sugar
- doesn’t contain corn syrup
- tastes AMAZING (no bias here – it’s a fact!)
Ingredients in Maple Pecan Bars
These bars are basically a pecan pie in cookie bar form. They have a grain free shortbread crust and sweet maple and pecan filling.
The crust is a simple, Paleo shortbread. It is lightly sweetened and has a soft, buttery texture. It’s made from:
- blanched almond flour
- tapioca flour
- coconut oil
- maple syrup
For an almond free version, the almond flour may be substituted with tigernut flour. Arrowroot flour works in place of the tapioca flour. And lastly, rather than coconut oil you may use non-hydrogenated palm shortening.
Maple Pecan Filling
The filling is free of corn syrup, dairy and gluten. Instead, the following ingredients are used:
- pecan pieces
- coconut cream
- maple syrup
- tapioca flour
- vanilla extract
Whole pecans can be used in place of the pecan pieces. Simply, chop them to desired size to use in the recipe. Again, tapioca flour may be substituted with arrowroot.
How to Make Maple Pecan Bars
Although these Vegan pecan bars require a few more steps than many of my recipes, they are still easy to make.
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then, make the crust by combining all dry crust ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Next, mix in the wet ingredients. The dough should be crumbly, but moist and easy to press together.
Firmly presss the crust dough into a foil lined 8″ x 8″ glass baking pan then set aside.
Next, on to the filling. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine pecans, tapioca flour, cinnamon and salt. Mix until well coated. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan, combine the coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Cook the mixture on medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should start to simmer after a few minutes and continue simmering. Don’t bring it to a boil.
Next, pour the coated pecans into the sauce pan and continue cooking on medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. It’s important to constantly stir the filling so that it doesn’t burn. While cooking, the filling should thicken.
Then, turn off the stove top and pour the filling onto the crust. With a spatula, smooth out the filling so that it is an even layer, coating the entire crust.
Place the bars in the preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Lastly, remove them from the oven and cool to room temperature. I recommend chilling them overnight prior to cutting. (Just makes them easier to cut.)
These bars are best stored in the fridge or freezer. I actually REALLY like them frozen. They don’t turn out rock-hard, but completely edible.
I’m not a huge pie person. Which, if you browse my site I’m sure you know! I prefer making bar recipes like these Maple Pecan Bars because I find them easier to throw together. These would be a great Paleo Thanksgiving dessert addition, as they are similar to a pecan pie.
More Healthy Bar Recipes
In addition to these Maple Pecan Bars, there are quite a few pie-like bar recipes on this site. Some favorites include:
These healthy Maple Pecan Bars have a soft, buttery shortbread crust and a maple and pecan filling. They are Paleo, Vegan, diary free, egg free and gluten free.
- 1 + 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (160 g)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour (30 g)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- For the crust: combine almond flour, tapioca flour and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. Mix in melted coconut oil and maple syrup. (Dough should be crumbly but moist.) Firmly press dough into a foil lined 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish and set aside.
- For the Filling: In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine pecans, tapioca flour, cinnamon and salt. Mix until well coated. Set aside.
- In a small sauce pan, combine coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Cook on medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. (Mixture should be simmering but not boiling.)
- Pour the coated pecans into the sauce pan and continue cooking on medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should thicken.
- Remove filling from heat and pour over crust. Smooth out so that filling is an even layer, coating the entire crust.
- Place bars in the preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Chill in fridge overnight**
- Cut and serve.
- Store in fridge or freezer.
*Use just the cream that rises to the top of a can of full fat coconut milk. One can of full fat coconut milk should be produce about 1 cup of cream.
**These bars cut best after chilling in the fridge overnight.
Keywords: maple pecan, dessert, Paleo, Vegan, Christmas, Holiday Recipe, Egg Free