Since this is a pecan pie recipe, you’re going to need about 14 cups of corn syrup, 8 cups of white sugar, 17 whole eggs, and 6 sticks of butter. Okay, maybe not. But really though, if you’ve ever looked up a pecan pie recipe, the ingredient list is kind of horrific, isn’t it? You can almost sense Paula Deen lurking in the shadows, ready to hand you a few more sticks of butter at a moment’s notice.

Here at One Ingredient Chef, I think we can do better, much better. Traditionalists will say you need those eggs and corn syrup to create a gooey filling, I say all you need is dates: nature’s perfect, gooey, whole-food sweetener. There’s a certain kind of magic that happens when we combine dates with pecans and a little vanilla in a food processor. All those amazingly rich pecan pie flavors come bursting through – no Paula Deen required.

Pecan Pie Bars

Makes 9 squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 5 tablespoons applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3 medjool dates
  • Pinch of salt
  • 15 medjool dates
  • 2/3 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Pecan pieces, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350ΒΊ F

Step One

To make the crust, first combine the applesauce, coconut oil, maple syrup, 3 dates, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times, scraping down the sides after each run, until the ingredients are somewhat integrated. Next, add the 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup rolled oats and pulse the mixture repeatedly until you have an even dough that is somewhere between sticky and crumbly. Note: if it’s too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons more applesauce.

Lightly oil a nonstick 9×9 pan (or a super-cool baking pan with square molds, as pictured) and add this dough to the base of the pan, about 1/3 inch thick and press it down evenly.

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Step Two

Make the incredibly simple and unprocessed pecan filling by combining about 15 medjool dates with 2/3 cup raw pecan pieces, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt in the food processor. Let this run for a full 2-3 minutes to break down the pecans into a deliciously gooey filling that tastes just like pecan pie. Spoon on top of the crust layer and press it down evenly.

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Step Three

Top with a few pecan pieces and press them into the surface. Then, bake at 350ΒΊ F for approximately 18-22 minutes, just until the pecan filling begins to turn slightly darker around the edges. Allow to cool slightly, but for best results, serve warm.

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Pecan Pie Bars Bite

Pecan Pie Bars Stacked