Vegan Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie Bars

I can not believe how fast this Fall is going. It seemed like it had just started, and now it is dark outside early, the leaves have fallen off the trees and we are into November.  This has me thinking about Thanksgiving, even if it is a few weeks away.  Especially the desserts.  I don't usually make pecan pie any other time of the year.  It was my favorite Thanksgiving dessert growing up. My Mom and Grandma were big pecan pie lovers, and I think I inherited that too.  Not that I didn't always take a piece of the pumpkin and apple pie that we always had as well, dessert was my favorite part, and I saved room.  I was thinking about that pecan pie this week and how good it was and decided that I needed to make something similar.

One of my favorite pecan pies that I have made (I tend to make different variations to keep it interesting), was one with chocolate chunks. I did not want to make a big pie right now though (I will save that for the holiday), so I went with pecan pie bars.  I like making bars, because they are a good thing to store in my freezer and pull out when the craving strikes.  Plus they are easy to share!

For these, I made sort of a short bread type crust, because I figured it would go so well with the pecans. Instead of using straight flour, I used a mixture of flour and tapioca flour to give it a nice melt in your mouth texture. If you don't have tapioca flour though, you can use cornstarch instead with good results. For the filling, instead of making a corn syrup or sugar and egg filled filling like in the original, I made a gooey vanilla date caramel.  I love date caramel!  It tastes just as good as regular to me but is way less processed. Dates are about as natural as it gets when it comes to sweetener if you blend them up yourself.

I added plenty of pecans to this, and of course the dark chocolate chunks.  I could not wait to try these bars.  They smelled so heavenly while baking!  I had to wait until the next day though, since I was making them at night, and I wanted them to cut nicely which requires complete cooling. They turned out sooo good!  I think I like these even better than the uber sweet pecan pie I grew up eating, these have more of a true pecan flavor along with the sweet caramel!  If you are a pecan pie fan, give these a try!

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie Bars

Makes 16

Crust:

  • 3/4 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour*
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour (or cornstarch would work as well)
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 5  Tbsp vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)

 

Filling:

  • 1 cup soft pitted medjool dates (if they are not soft, soak them in filtered water for 30 minutes and drain well
  • before using)
  • 1/4 cup pecan butter (or raw cashew butter or almond butter)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup, plus more for brushing the top of the pie
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups toasted pecans, plus more for top of bars
  • 3/4 cup chopped vegan dark chocolate, plus more for top of bars
  • maple syrup for brushing bars

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
  2. To make the crust, in a large bowl, mix together flour, tapioca flour,  sugar, and sea salt. Mix in butter and stir (or use your hands and knead) until a smooth dough is created. Press into the bottom of an 8x8 inch square pan.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until just starting to brown.  Remove from the oven.
  4. To make filling, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor except the pecans and chocolate chunks. Process until smooth, then scrape into a bowl and stir in the pecans and chocolate chunks. Spread the filling over the crust, and top with more pecans and chocolate chunks. Brush the top lightly with maple syrup. Place in the oven.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes until it is starting to brown lightly.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.

 

*If you prefer regular AP flour, that will work as well. Or if you would like to make these gluten free, you can swap the whole wheat flour for a gluten free flour blend like Bob's Red Mill AP baking flour (I have had success with this brand).

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About the Author

I am a vegan girl who loves to make healthier desserts and dishes with lots of veggies. Recipes are meant to be shared, that is why I started blogging!

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