These paleo pecan pie bars are made with a simple shortbread crust and a dairy-free caramel filling. It’s a creamy, sweet dessert that tastes just as good as traditional pecan pie but much healthier. You’ll love this rich, gooey, sweet paleo dessert for the holidays or any special occasion!
This is not a difficult recipe to make but there are quite a few steps. I will outline them here and provide tips for baking and cutting them.
I recommend making these pecan pie bars the day before you’re going to serve them. They need a few hours to cool and chill.
Steps To Make The Best Paleo Pecan Pie Bars
- Make the caramel filling. Set aside to cool for 1 hour.
- While it’s cooling make the shortbread crust. Let cool.
- Roast the pecans for the filling in the oven at the same time you’re baking the crust .
- Chop the roasted pecans and mix with maple syrup and vanilla.
- Whisk the eggs into the cooled caramel.
- Add the chopped nuts and pour into the crust.
- Arrange the pecan halves on the top to make it look pretty and for easy cutting (directions below).
The shortbread crust is made with almond flour, coconut flour, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla. Instead of rolling it out like a pie crust, simple mix and press into a parchment lined 8 x 8 baking pan.
When lining your 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper, spread a strip of coconut oil along the sides and on the bottom to hold the parchment in place. You’re not oiling the pan, just using a strip of oil like glue.
To press the crust into the prepared pan, spread it out with your hands then use a piece of parchment and bottom of a metal measuring cup to press it evenly into the pan.
The dairy free caramel filling is made with coconut milk, coconut sugar and vanilla. We make it on the stovetop, very easy. Once it’s caramelized you don’t taste the coconut milk at all!
I recommend roasting the chopped pecans before adding them to the caramel filling. Raw pecans taste sweet but faintly waxy. Roasting gives them a rich toffeed flavor before they even hit the caramel filling.
In order for the filling to bake into a custard, we whisk eggs into the cooled caramel, along with the chopped, roasted, maple flavored pecans.
Tips For Cutting
Pecan halves make a beautiful topping when you take the time to arrange them in a pattern that makes it easy to cut. You don’t want to mash those pecan halves down into your squares, making your cut slices look like scoops of mush.
Don’t roast the pecan halves you’re using for the top in advance.
Since your knife won’t cut through the whole nuts, arrange them to allow the knife to cut through easily.
We cut these squares into 16 pieces. Arrange 4 groups of 2 pecan halves close together with a little space between, across and down, so there are 16 groups of 2 pecans. Each square will have 2 pecan halves on the top.
The rest of the magic happens in the oven and as it chills.
Chilling is not an optional step. Waiting for them to chill might be the most challenging part of the recipe. The sweet aroma will make you want to eat them right away, but don’t, they won’t taste right.
First let them cool for about 1 hour to room temperature. Then lift up the sides of the parchment to remove them from the pan. Put them on a plate and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, overnight is even better.
Cut into 16 squares when ready to serve. I love adding a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt for that delicious sweet, salty flavor.
What makes these pecan pie bars healthier?
Traditionally pecan pie is made with lots of butter, refined sugars and corn syrup. I wanted to lighten these bars up so they feel good in our body.
Here is what makes them healthy and delicious:
- Grain & gluten free shortbread crust made with almond flour and coconut flour.
- A dairy-free caramel filling made with coconut milk instead of butter.
- All unrefined sugars, only pure maple syrup and coconut sugar.
- Healthy fats from the coconut milk, almond flour and pecans prevent blood sugar spikes!
These paleo pecan pie bars are my favorite healthy Thanksgiving dessert. Great for the holidays.
I love the rich, creamy, caramel filling and toffy nutty taste. They’re perfectly sweet and super satisfying. The shortbread crust is ideal for the filling and is super easy to make.
This is one of the best desserts for your holiday, whether you have guests or not. The first day I ate 2 pieces right away. Then my family came and ate the rest. You know it’s good when everyone can’t keep their hands off it.
Please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I appreciate your feedback so much. Let me know what desserts you’re making for the holiday. ♥
If you like this recipe you may also enjoy these other healthy holiday desserts:
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These paleo pecan pie bars are a creamy, sweet dessert that tastes just as good as traditional pecan pie but much healthier.
- 2 1/4 cups full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup organic coconut sugar
- Pinch Celtic sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (74 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour, (28 grams)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Celtic salt
Make the Caramel Filling
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk and coconut sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring or whisking, then lower the heat (medium-low) so that the mixture is bubbling but not overflowing.
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, for 15-20 minutes or until mixture is reduced and a deep caramel color*.
- Remove from heat, stir in the salt and vanilla extract.
- After preparing the caramel, allow it to cool at room temp for at least 1 hour before continuing with the filling.
Prepare the Crust
- Gently melt the coconut oil on low heat, in a small pan. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix together almond flour, coconut flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt until well combined. Press into bottom of pan. (see notes above)
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
- Let crust cool completely.
- Spread 1 ½ cups of the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice so that they toast evenly. Once cooled, coarsely chop.
- Mix the chopped pecans with 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and pinch of salt.
- Whisk the eggs into the caramel filling (after an hour of cooling) one at a time until smooth, then stir in the chopped pecan mixture. Pour filling into the baked crust.
- Arrange pecan halves on the top of the pie. Make 4 groups of 2 pecan halves close together with a little space between across and down so there are 16 groups of 2 pecans. See photo above.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, until center is set. Allow bars to cool completely at room temp for 1 hour. Chill for at least 1 hour. Pie is best served slightly chilled for easy slicing. Once chilled it can be left out of the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Enjoy!
Time will vary based on your stove, this step may take as much as 25 minutes but usually it’s 15- 2o minutes.
Chilling time is 2 hours.
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: Paleo, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Keywords: paleo Thanksgiving desserts, paleo pecan pie bars, healthy pecan pie recipes
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