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James is so predictable. From dishwasher loading all the way down to date nights, certain things need to be done in certain ways to keep Planet James on its proper orbit. The holiday season is no different, and has its own set of predictable and sometimes bizarre customs. One of the biggest revolves around holiday foods. Once the Christmas lights go up, James starts whining about how much he wishes for pecan pie.
I’m not sure where his pecan pie obsession came from. Long before me, that’s for sure. He was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, so I’d guess his Southern roots are to blame here. And I have to admit, pecan pies are quite tasty. The problem is, pecan pies aren’t generally made with healthy, wholesome ingredients. Corn syrup, margarine, preservatives, artificial flavor, caramel color…need I go on?
To satisfy James’ pecan pie obsession and to keep on the healthy eating train, I’ve come up with my own pecan pie alternative, and guys, it’s pretty fantastic. Seriously, these bars are so delicious and taste just like pecan pie…you’ll be shocked they’re actually healthed-up and gluten free. Plus they’re WAY easier to make than an actual pie.
Stef’s Gluten Free Pecan Pie Bars Recipe
For the crust:
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup melted butter (or coconut oil)
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- pinch of sea salt
For the pecan topping:
- 1 1/3 cups chopped pecans
- 5 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/3 cup agave
- 2 ½ tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 2 ½ tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and grease a 9” or so baking pan (I use an 11 x 7” Pyrex).
- Beat the eggs in a large bowl using a fork. Mix in the applesauce, and then the melted butter. Stir in the coconut flour and salt to form a dough.
- Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the pan. You want to get it pretty thin, otherwise the crust overpowers the taste of the bar. I usually have a little extra dough that I toss. Prick the crust with a fork before baking.
- Bake for around 10 minutes, or when you see it turning golden with the edges browning. It might have some bubbles or cracks when it comes out of the oven. If so, pack it back down to flat. After you’ve baked the crust and removed from oven, turn it down to 350 degrees. Let the crust rest at room temperature for around 15 minutes, or while you prepare the topping.
- Add all the pecan topping ingredients (except vanilla) to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for around one minute, and then remove from heat. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Add vanilla.
- Pour the topping over the crust, making sure it is evenly distributed.
- Bake 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Let stand until it comes down to room temperature. Then refrigerate a couple hours (or as long as you need) to set the crust and topping so they’ll hold up.
In my 11 x 7″ pan, I cut these into 15 bars. These aren’t low calorie, so keeping the portion size small is important. They keep well in the fridge for a few days or the freezer for weeks.
Let me know what you think! And may you all have a very merry and healthy holiday season!