These easy chocolate paleo pecan pie bars have a layer of creamy date caramel! They’re a vegan friendly and gluten free, healthier dessert for the Holidays!
I warned you.
Last week we had pecan pie paleo cookies and easy paleo pecan pie pumpkin vegan cheesecake AND I told you in the paleo sweet potato casserole in the slow cooker that it was NOT the end of pecan pie flavored yumminess.
When I love a food-flavor, I love it HARD.
I don’t even know if there are words in the English language to express my deep <3 for these bars.
Think a crunchy, maple-flavored crust that is the foundation of this X-TREMELY soft and chewy “caramel” layer that is secretly made of NOT SUGAR AND BUTTER, and then a CRUUUUCNAY, sticky-sweet ending of toasty-roasty pecans with swirls of MELTY, ooey-gooey CHOCOLATE.
Party in your Thanksgiving-dessert loving mouth?
I THINK YES.
Truth be told these pecan bars, that are reaching the ultimate level of YUM in your tum, are a mash- up of last year’s paleo pecan pie bars and the homemade Twix bars that we ate in the summer. Because why eat 2 desserts separately when your mouth could munch them AT THE SAME TIME.
TRU life facts my friend. You agree with me.
I am still sitting here in SHOCK AND AW at the knowledge that you can actually make a perfectly sweet, dense-chewy caramel out of DATES. I mean, they can even thicken soups like we learned in the Moroccan roasted acorn squash soup.
Bold statement alert: dates might be the newest, trendiest version of CAULIFLOWER in the sense that there are just so many things that these wrinkly little fruits can DO.
I probably made you just not want to eat them with the whole “wrinkly” description. However, this was my secret ploy.
MORE PECAN PIE BARS FO’ ME.
You’ve seen the coconut flour crust on mannny things here in the FFF blog-o-sphere. It all started with the paleo lemon bars that I made 11 TIMES FOR YOU (still a little bit bitter about that fiasco.) The simple, crunchy-crust nirvana that is this basic recipe is just the ULTIMATE in perfect crusts for pretty much every recipe that ever needs a crust in your life. Especially because I suck at making actual pie crusts. I’ll leave that to this Gluten-Free Pie Crust from Flippin’ Delicious.
So, I’m using it again. My blog. My rules.
Really though, I’m OBSESSIN’ over the sheer CRUNCH that happens when your teeth nibble through each layer, because it’s a major texture OVERLOAD, in the best possible sense of being overloaded.
When that creamy date caramel sticks to your tongue and then you get hit with all the warm, toasty, and SOSO cozy flavor of MORE crispy pecans and syrupy-sweet maple? Compl-EAT Thanksgiving dessert bliss moment happening in your very real-life food loving face.
I also suggest making an X-TRA batch of aforementioned caramel made of no weird ingredients, but full of NO WEIRD TASTES (IE: tastes, liiiike, REALLY GOOD) and maybe slathering it on coconut milk ice cream? Maybe even on a gluten free muffin? MAYBE ON YOUR NEXT KALE SALAD?
Too good to exclude from your regular, every-day eating life. Everyone knows salad is better with caramel.
Might have made that up though.
What you do with your extra batch of caramel is up to you, but I am HIGHLY encouraging (read: ORDERING) you to take your first batch out for a test-ride and sandwich it between 2 layers of crispety-crunchety, sticky-sweet DELICIOUSNESS.
Pretty sure your pie-loving family won’t be ONE BIT mad about it.
But, just in case, you could always make an extra gluten free pumpkin pie from Gluten Free on a Shoestring!
P.s HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I hope you plan to double fist pecan pie bars and peanut butter cups allllllllll night long 😉
Chocolate Paleo Pecan Pie Bars with Date Caramel
For the pecan topping:
For the crust:
For the caramel:
- 2 Cups lightly packed Medjool dates cut into halves (290g)
- 1 Tbsp Coconut oil melted
- 1 Tbsp Hot Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- Heat your oven to 375 degrees and line the bottom and sides of an 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang to use as a handle once the bars are cooked.
- Place the pecans from the topping onto a small baking sheet and cook until lightly browned and toasty smelling, about 5-10 minutes. Watch them closely as they burn quickly. Once cooked, chop the pecans and reduce your oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flax meal and warm water. Place into the refrigerator to gel.
- In a large bowl, beat the maple syrup and coconut oil together using an electric hand beater until creamy and well combined. Stir in the coconut flour, cocoa powder and salt until it forms a dough.
- Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan and bake until the edges darken, and the crust appears set about 9 minutes. Your crust will probably have risen and cracked a little bit when it comes out of the oven, use the pack of a small spoon to pack it down so it’s flat and crack-free. Once it's out of the oven, cool for 5 minutes.
- While the crust cools, place the chopped dates in a medium, microwave-safe bowl and microwave until hot, but not burned, about 1 - 1.5 minutes.
- Add the hot dates into a SMALL food processor (mine is 3 cups **) and use the "chop" setting until they are broken down into small pieces. Then, turn to the "puree" setting until the dates are creamy and begin to form a ball.
- With the food processor running, stream in the coconut oil and HOT almond milk (I just microwaved it for 30 seconds or so) until the dates are broken down, sticky and smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Once the crust has finished cooling for 5 minutes, gently spread the date caramel on top evenly, making sure to not break the crust.
- Then, combine the the coconut sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt (for the topping) in a small sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 seconds, stirring constantly and then remove from heat. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 3 minutes.
- Once it has sat, add the chilled flax egg and mix well. Finally, stir in the chopped pecans until they are coated in the sugar mixture.
- Pour the topping over the caramel, using a spoon to spread out and make sure the sugar mixture and pecans are evenly coating the caramel. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips
- Bake until the edges are golden brown, the middle appears set, and begins to rise a little bit, about 18 minutes. Let cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Then, cover the bars and refrigerate for at LEAST 4 hours to overnight.
- Slice into bars and DEVOUR..
*PLEASE weigh your coconut flour! I have tried this crust MANY times with different brands and, for the most part, 3/4 cup of sifted coconut flour is 66g. BUT, I have found some brands that are a little denser and only require 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp to make 66g. To ensure results, weigh the sifted flour.
** I could not get the dates to be smooth enough in a large food processor, so definitely use a small one.
FOR THIS RECIPE, I RECOMMEND:
WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS PER SERVING: SMART POINTS: 10 POINTS+: 5. OLD POINTS: 4
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, PLEASE REMEMBER TO TAG @FOODFAITHFIT AND #FOODFAITHFITNESS ON INSTAGRAM! I LOVE SEEING YOUR RECIPE RECREATIONS!
Want more healthy paleo desserts?
Paleo pecan desserts from around the web:
Chocolate Pecan Tart – Bakerita
Paleo Maple Pecan Apple Crisp – Paleo Running Momma
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