This pecan pie bar recipe is gluten free, grain free, and vegan, made with paleo flour and natural sugars. Skip the traditional pie and serve these bars for a healthier holiday dessert!
This fantastic recipe is sponsored by the awesome people at Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting the brands that help me to create delicious gluten free recipes like this one for you!
Do you know that coffee has the power to transform the flavor of baked goods from mediocre to marvelous? It’s a fact – I will never lie to you, friends!
Chocolate and coffee share a similar flavor profile, so they naturally pair well together. This is why many good chocolate cake recipes call for the addition of coffee or espresso powder.
For the same reason, when I make chocolate desserts, I like to add a splash of coffee to them.
These vegan pecan pie bars are no exception! They’re made with dark chocolate, coffee, and a fantastic all-purpose paleo baking flour from Bob’s Red Mill that I am head over heels for. I think you’ll love it too.
This paleo baking flour mix is definitely my go to for grain free baking because it already has the necessary thickeners/starches, such as tapioca flour. It’s also perfect for making grain free flatbread, crackers, and more.
- Bob’s Grain free Flour Blend ingredients – almond flour, arrowroot starch, tapioca flour, coconut flour. No sugar or additives added!
Now, I have to confess… I’ve also made these bars with a self made paleo flour blend with Bob’s Redmill grain free flours.
Okay, let’s get to baking with this flour blend! Crust first.
Pecan pie bar recipe ingredients
There are three components of the dessert bars- the crust, the filling and a nutty chocolate coffee topping.
The crust is simple to make, with just FOUR ingredients! But, the first ingredient may surprise you…
- Pitted dates – As I mentioned earlier, there are no refined sugars in this dessert. Dates are naturally sweet, so you don’t need to use sugar! Plus, dates are high in fiber and antioxidants.
- Paleo baking flour blend – Bob’s Red Mill paleo flour is a blend of almond, tapioca and coconut flour, plus arrowroot starch. (homemade grain free flour blend in recipe card)
- Tapioca starch – You will only need this if you are using self made almond flour/coconut flour blend. The paleo baking flour blend does include starch.
- Coconut oil – You may not need to use this; it really depends on how fresh your dates are.
PECAN PIE FILLING INGREDIENTS
- Pitted dates
- sea salt
- vanilla extract – The cost of vanilla beans is crazy expensive right now. So, if pure extract is too rich for your wallet, you can use almond extract or use imitation vanilla
- pecan halves – Be sure to set some of the halves aside to use for the top of the vegan pecan pie bars
- maple syrup
- naturally refined coconut oil
- non dairy milk or water
- instant coffee granules or espresso powder
- coffee beans – This is an optional ingredient. I like to use chocolate covered espresso beans or coffee beans to garnish the top of the bars
Video: How to make vegan pecan pie bars
Yes, this recipe is simple to make, but I created a helpful how-to video for you anyway. 🙂
Recipe notes + tips for success
- Soak the dates.
To be sure that the dates are full of moisture, let them soak them for at least 10 minutes before draining them.
- Parbake the crust.
Although this step is optional, I recommend partially baking the crust for 10-15 minutes. It makes for a sturdier crust, so it can hold the filling without absorbing moisture from the dates.
- Keep distractions at a minimum.
Part of making the filling requires cooking the maple syrup and coffee, then blending it with the pecans and dates. The mixture will boil up pretty quickly- two to three minutes, MAX. Be very careful, because it will bubble up and get very hot.
You’ll need to remove it from the heat and pour it into the crust as quickly as possible after that. Otherwise, it will start to thicken, making the job more difficult.
- Chilling is not an optional step.
Waiting for your pecan pie bars to chill may be the most difficult part of making this recipe! Trust me on this- if you eat them before they set up, they just won’t taste right. Repeat after me… patience is a virtue.
This pecan pie bar recipe is gluten free, grain free, and vegan, made with paleo flour and natural sugars. Skip the traditional pie and serve these bars for a healthier holiday dessert.
IMPORTANT: You MUST chill the bars for at least 4 hours before serving them. Otherwise, the consistency will be too mushy, and you won’t be able to cut them into clean squares.
FOR THE CRUST:
- 12 pitted dates (soaked for 10 minutes in water)
- 1 3/4 cups Paleo flour Blend (see notes for homemade paleo flour blend)
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch (or arrowroot starch) – Omit if using paleo flour blend with tapioca starch.
- 1– 2 tbsp naturally refined coconut oil (as needed)
FOR THE FILLING AND TOPPING:
- 6 dates (pitted)
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup pecan halves to blend + extra for topping
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup naturally refined coconut oil
- 2 tbsp non dairy milk or water
- 2 tbsp instant coffee or espresso
- Optional coffee beans for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180C). Line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper and be sure to grease or oil the sides as well.
- In a small bowl, soak your dates in water for 10 minutes. Drain water after.
- Blend together nut flour, tapioca starch, dates, and 1 tbsp coconut oil in food processor. If your batter is too dry, then add 1/2 tbsp up to 1 tbsp more coconut oil (as needed). Blend until a mealy sticky texture is formed. See blog for photos.
- Transfer batter to a baking/brownie pan. Spread mixture evenly into the pan then press firmly to create a bottom crust.
- Bake for 12 -15 minutes or until crust is lightly golden brown. Remove from oven. Updated notes: I’ve had a few readers opt not to prebake the the crust and it works well too.
- While the crust is baking, make the filling and topping.
- Blend together 6 dates, vanilla, salt, and 1 cup of the pecans. Batter will be sticky and thick. Then Place in bowl and set aside.
- Next, in a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup maple syrup (for sweeter topping using 1/2 c maple syrup), 2 tbsp milk (or water), 1/3 cup coconut oil, and 2 tbsp instant coffee.
- Let it come to a soft boil and then reduce to low, whisk on low. This should only take about 2 -3 minutes max! It will be a little foamy bubbly then it will settle back down.
- Combine your hot coffee coconut oil mix with the date/pecan filling in one bowl. Mix together quickly.
- Pour that mixture over the pecan crust in the pan. Spread it out evenly. See picture in post with the glaze on top. That’s the coffee/date batter. Sprinkle the rest of your pecan halves on top. Sprinkle extra coffee beans on top if desired.
- Bake again for about 18-22 minutes or until golden brown on sides.
- Once baked, place in the fridge for 1 hr to set.
- Remove from fridge then slice into bars. The bars are best served at room temperature or slightly warmed (in oven or microwave) .
- Store in fridge in sealed container for up to 1 week. Freeze up to 3 months.
- Alternative grain free flour mix – 1 1/2 c blanched almond flour, 2 tbsp coconut flour, and 2 tbsp tapioca flour. Be sure to pre bake the crust for at least 10 minutes with this blend.
- The sugar content comes mostly from the dates (natural sugar). I have not tried using a alternative sugar substitute for the maple syrup, but feel free to try or reduce amount of maple syrup to 2-4 tbsp.
- Category: dessert
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 small bar
- Calories: 310
- Sugar: 28g
- Sodium: 11.2mg
- Fat: 22.5g
- Saturated Fat: 7.7g
- Carbohydrates: 25.3g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 4.9g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: pecan pie bar recipe, holiday desserts, vegan, grain free, gluten free, paleo, vegan pecan pie bars
This post was originally published on November 6, 2016. The photos, video, and content were updated on October 21, 2020.
Alright my friends, hope you these mini pie bars make all your vegan (or paleo) holiday food dreams come true, extra caffeinated. Take pictures and tag us if you try them! 😉