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Delicious and caramelly vegan pecan pie bars are a must-bake for this autumn and winter. It’s super easy to make without corn syrup, eggs or dairy. It’s a little healthier and more wholesome than your usual pecan pie bars and can be made gluten-free too! A perfect little snack and wonderful dessert for festive occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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Pecans are one of my absolute favourite nuts to eat. I love all kinds of nuts though, but pecans actually might be number 1 or 2. I love how crunchy they are and they have a unique flavour I quite like. Sadly it’s not super popular in Tokyo where I currently reside, so I always have to buy them from Amazon. And usually nuts that are sold on Amazon is quite big, like 1kg per bag! I had so much pecans in the bag so what did I make? Easy vegan pecan pie bars! Mmmm, yummy.
The first time I had a slice of pecan pie bar was in London. London seems like the place where I had most of my favourite baked goods for the first time! Anyhow, I think it was Cafe Nero where I had my first pecan pie bar(mind you, I wasn’t vegan at that time so it probably wasn’t vegan). It was so delicious and reminded me how good pecan nuts were. And I realised pecan was so much more accessible in London than it is in Tokyo so I started baking with them a lot.
This homemade pecan pie bar recipe is one of the best things I have baked with pecans so far. It’s easy to make and the caramelly pecan spread is absolutely delicious with a buttery crust base. It’s made without corn syrup, dairy, and eggs, so it’s a little healthier and wholesome. It also can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free flour. What more can you ask for a pecan pie bar?
Main ingredients and substitutions
I used wholemeal flour as the base for the crust. I love the nutty flavour of wholemeal flour together with sweet pecan spread on top, so perfect. You can swap it with plain flour too if you prefer. To make the crust gluten-free, use 1:1 gluten-free flour.
Vegan butter in this recipe gives the crust a nice buttery flavour and lovely texture to the pecan spread. I like using Earth Balance vegan spread in baking. They have buttery sticks now and are perfect for vegan baking. You can substitute coconut oil to make this recipe even more wholesome and healthy.
Brown sugar creates a slightly chewier texture in baking so I used it in the pecan spread as well as the crust. It also makes this recipe refined sugar-free too. You can use coconut sugar in place of brown sugar if you want. Regular white sugar works too.
Recently(well about 1-2 years ago) after I discovered one of my local supermarkets sells soy cream in my neighbourhood, I started adding it in my recipes when I want to create a rich and creamy texture. So I added it in the pecan spread and it turned out amazing. You can also use other plant-based single creams too such as oat cream, coconut cream etc.
I can’t get enough of maple syrup! I love pouring it on everything and it tastes so good in baked goods too. I used about half brown sugar and half maple syrup and it was perfect.
Flaxseed becomes like jelly when it’s mixed with water. And it’s often used in place of eggs in vegan baking as a binder. You can also use chia seed for the same purpose.
Arrowroot flour is a starchy flour that is used as a thickener in fillings. It can also be used as the main flour for baked goods though I haven’t tried it yet. I used it to thicken the pecan spread in this recipe. You can replace it with cornflour or tapioca flour too.
Other ingredients: water and salt.
Recommended equipment for this recipe
I used a newly purchased rectangle-shaped baking tray for the first time! It was a little tricky to adjust the amount of each ingredient because it’s a little bigger than my square one I usually use. The tray I used for this recipe is 30cm by 20cm, and 5cm deep(12 x 8 x 2 inches).
A piece of parchment paper comes in handy when taking the bars out of the tray. It also prevents them from sticking to the bottom of the tray so I recommend using it. To line a tray, cut a piece of parchment paper the same length as the tray, grease the inside of the tray with oil or vegan butter and line.
How to make vegan pecan pie bars
Let’s make the crust first! Preheat the oven for 200℃. In a large bowl, mix the wholemeal flour and brown sugar together with a large whisk. Pour in the melted butter and mix well with a large wooden spoon until it makes a nice buttery dough. Transfer the mixture to a tray lined with parchment paper, gently spread and press it down evenly to the bottom. Pre-bake it for 10 mins.
While the crust is in the oven, let’s make the pecan spread. Mix together the ground flaxseed, arrowroot powder and water together and set aside to thicken. This is the main binding agent mixture that works in place of eggs!
In a large bowl, mix the brown sugar and warm melted butter together very well with a whisk. Add the soy cream, maple syrup, and flaxseed mixture and stir well. Add in the wholemeal flour and mix again with a whisk. Finally, add whole or coarsely chopped pecans to the mixture and stir well with a large wooden spoon.
Once the crust is baked, turn down the temperature of the oven to 180℃. Pour the pecan mixture over the pre-baked crust and spread evenly with the same wooden spoon. Bake it again for another 25 mins until the top is golden amber. To test if it’s baked, an inserted toothpick should come out clean. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down to room temperature in the tray. Carefully take it out and cut it into bars. Enjoy!
Tips and tricks
Pre-bake the crust
I pre-baked the crust because the water content of the crust dough and pecan spread is very different. If you bake it together at the same time without pre-baking, the crust would absorb too much water and will become a little gooey.
Swap the pecan with your favourite nuts
You can make your own nut pie bars by simply swapping the pecan with your favourite nuts. It can be peanuts for peanut pie bars, I imagine it would taste like a healthy version of snickers bars! Almonds or walnuts would make a lovely nut to replace pecan in this recipe too.
How to store this homemade pecan pie bars
Once it’s cut into bars, you can keep them for up to 4-5 days in the fridge. Make sure to put them in an airtight container or cover them with a clean kitchen cloth or reusable cling film. Have it straight from the fridge or you can microwave it a little to make it slightly softer and chewy. For longer storage, put them in a freezer-friendly airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
Q and A
What can I use instead of maple syrup?
I have not tried making this recipe with other liquid sweeteners but I think rich and dark agave syrup or date syrup would work well in place of maple syrup.
Is sugar veagn?
When you are baking with sugars, such as caster sugar, granulated sugar, icing sugar, brown sugar, etc., choose ones that don’t use bone charr as a filter in the manufacturing process. What is bone charr? Bone charr is charcoal made with animal bones that are used in sugar making process to make sugars whiter. Not cool! So is brown sugar vegan? The answer is most brown sugars are just regular white sugar that has molasses added to it, so it depends on the brand.
I purchase sugars that are free from bone charr online. They are about the same price as those largely marketed sugars that use bone charr! The best way to check if your sugar is bone charr-free is by contacting the manufactures by phone call or email and asking them if their sugar uses bone charr in the making process. They should give you more details about how their sugar is made!
If you are in the US, all organic sugars are vegan! If you are in the UK, most of Tate and Lyle and Silver Spoon‘s sugars are vegan except the ones that use egg white. You can find more about it in their FAQ section on their website. Here is a useful article from PETA about sugar and brands that don’t use bone charr.
I strongly recommend you weigh your ingredients rather than measure with measuring cups. Measuring cups are easy to use but it’s very inaccurate when it comes to baking! You can easily over or under-measure ingredients and it will affect the final product you are making massively.
A digital scale is very affordable too so get yours if you don’t have one and become an even better baker today!
You will LOVE this pecan pie bar recipe because they are:
– super easy to make
– deliciously nutty
– perfect for festive seasons
Please leave a comment and rate this recipe in the comment section below if you like this recipe! Let me know and tag me @thechestnutbakery on Instagram too. Thank you for making my recipe, friends!Print
Useful kitchen tools for this recipe
I used this exact one to make this recipe. It’s 20cm by 30cm and 5cm deep(12 x 8 x 2 inches). It’s free of chemicals like BPA and tefron! It comes with a divider too. If you use the divider, the bars will be pretty small so it can make 18 small bars.
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