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Healthy Maple Pecan Pie Bars

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.

Pecan_Pie_Bars_S1

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.

Pecan_Pie_Bars_S2

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

32 Comments

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  1. *gasp* YAY I was contemplating a healthy pecan pie recipe in my head with like the same ingredients and you totally materialized it into being before I even had to try. THANKS!

    • Hmm, you *may* be able to get by with using 1-2 extra tablespoons of coconut oil and 2-3 tablespoons of water. This shortbread-ish crust is a little flexible like that and it’ll probably work well. The other option would be to use banana, but I’m not sure how that would turn out.

  2. YES! Thank you x 1000! I’ve been looking for healthy pecan pie recipes for ages now because it is one of Man-thing’s absolute favourites, but all the unhealthy ingredients just made me cringe. This looks so delicious and not deadly that I will prance over to the shops tomorrow and acquire some final necessities to spoil the necessary individuals in a healthful way πŸ˜‰

  3. Looks pretty awesome. I love the different kitchen tools that you use in the photos, like this mini square pan or the rustic cutting board in the muffin recipe. Where do you find all that stuff?

    I’d like to try these, but do you think skipping the maple syrup would work?

    • Thanks, Bulut! Ah, that was one of the biggest challenges of first becoming a food blogger/photographer – finding all the props and accents to add to pictures. I’ve collected random stuff over the last year and I’ll occasionally go to stores like HomeGoods or Bed Bath & Beyond to see if they have anything I might like to use πŸ™‚

  4. These sound great! Going to try them this week, thanks a lot! When you talk about food processor are you using your Vitamix? I have recently purchased one here in the UK and love using it!

    • Hi John! I LOVE my Vitamix and use it for almost everything, but there are some things where a traditional food processor just works better, and this is one of them. However, you *may* be able to get by with a Vitamix if you don’t have a FP.

  5. Oh. My. God. I need the super cool baking pan with square molds!!! Also, I need this pie inside said molds. Dates are probably the most amazing ingredient ever. I’ve really learned with vegan baking how unnecessary the traditionally “necessary” ingredients of baking are. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own world of ingredients that when I see the ingredients in store-made baked goods, I’m shocked to see them listed there, like they’re illegal substances or something…until I remember that MOST of the desserts people eat today are full of junk. Yikes. Happy Easter kids, here’s some early onset diabetes with pecans on top.

    • Dates are DEFINITELY the most amazing ingredient ever. That’s so true – when you actually start paying attention to the ingredients you use yourself, it’s much more eye-opening to see the crazy things they put in food. Like your post on Peeps, when’s the last time you dumped a bunch of carnauba wax and potassium sorbate into your homemade baked goods? It’s terrible.

  6. Do you think this could be made into a tart/pie form? If so, what diameter would work best? I don’t have the right sized pan and wouldn’t want the final product to end up too thin!

    • Hi Robin, Hmm… I’m sure the texture would work fine in a pie form but I haven’t tried it myself and couldn’t recommend the exact quantities. Although, the filling is pretty easy to make, so you could always make one batch and then another if that’s not enough.

  7. Andrew, these sound amazing! I am going to try them with pumpkin/sunflower seeds. Nut allergy here…Hopefully it turns out.

  8. Hi there! This recipe looks amazing. If I don’t have medjool would deglet noor dates work? If so, I know that they are somewhat smaller. Do you know about how many I would use? Or possibly the measurement in cups of dates I need to make this? This will be the first recipe I try off your website, but all of them look so delicious.

    • Hi Leila! Yes, definitely, any kind of dates would work fine. I don’t remember exactly how many cups this equates to, but this recipe is fairly forgiving. Start out with maybe 20 dogleg noors and see how it goes – you can always add more if needed πŸ™‚

  9. Thank you so much for the recipe! With Thanksgiving coming up, I’ve been craving pecan pie but can’t bring myself to put all that junk in my body. I just made your recipe and it hit the spot. I’m excited to share these with my friends on Thanksgiving.

  10. Hay Andrew! This looks scrumptious. Think I may just make the topping to put on things! Yum. I am equally horrified by what most pecan pie recipes entail

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