With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, gather up all your pecans for these healthy pecan pie bars! The bars have a thick and soft shortbread base, but topped with a gooey pecan caramel! You won’t believe that they are secretly keto and low carb!
There are certain recipes that I feel should not be seasonal- Pecan pie is one of them. When I think about Thanksgiving and Christmas, I ALWAYS have pecan pie on my mind. It’s my all-time favorite desserts and every single time I make it, I question myself why I only make it several times a year!
As someone who often has a batch of pumpkin pie energy bites, pumpkin pancakes and candied pecans on rotation, I have no excuses. The sweet, gooey caramelized pecans are something I could eat with a spoon, and paired with the thick shortbread base…Okay, I’m salivating now.
Maybe that is why I only make them certain times of the year…I would live off them if I could!
Unlike traditional pecan pie recipes, I’ve given my version a little twist. I’ve made keto-friendly pecan pie bars because I used low carb and low sugar ingredients.
These healthy pecan pie bars will be a huge favorite, even non-healthy and non-keto eaters will adore! I even made my carnivorous friend try them, and they would not believe they were completely paleo and vegan!
How to make the best keto pecan pie bars
- Coconut Flour. This low carb and grain-free flour help keep the shortbread thick, crumbly and with a slight cake texture. Do not substitute this for anything.
- Keto Maple Syrup. It provides sweetness and helps hold the shortbread base together.
- Coconut Oil OR butter. Coconut oil is the glue that binds the shortbread together, along with giving a buttery flavor and texture.
Pecan Pie Filling
- Pecans. I purchase whole ones, as they are cheaper, then roughly chop them myself.
- Coconut Oil. Unrefined or refined is fine. I prefer refined as it doesn’t have an evident coconut scent.
- Keto Maple Syrup. It provides sweetness and gives a gooey texture.
- Granulated Sweetener of choice. I used Swerve, a keto and paleo sweetener, made with erythritol.
- Vanilla Extract. Always a must in baked goods!
- Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper and transfer the batter into it and press into shape. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Start by preparing your shortbread base ingredients, by mixing together the coconut flour, syrup and coconut oil (or melted butter) in a large mixing bowl. The batter should be crumbly, but still moist. Place the shortbread base in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
- While the shortbread is cooking, prepare your pecan pie filling mix. In a small saucepan, add your coconut oil, vanilla extract, granulated sweetener and syrup. On medium heat, heat until a thick syrup remains and begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and add in your pecans and whisk well until coated. Remove from the heat.
- Once the shortbread is golden brown, top with the pecan pie filling and spread out to an even layer. Place back in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Do not overbake, as the filling on top will dry out.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan completely. Once cool, cut into bars.
- Keto Maple Syrup. If you don’t follow a strict ketogenic diet, pure maple syrup, agave nectar or honey will work (not strictly vegan).
- Granulated sweetener of choice. Other granulated sweeteners that will work are coconut palm sugar, brown sugar, and white sugar.
- Coconut oil. The only other substitute that works instead of coconut oil is butter (grass-fed or dairy-free).
How to store and freeze pecan pie bars
You can either store the pecan pie bars in the fridge for immediate consumption, or the freezer, to enjoy later!
- To store. Place the sliced pecan pie bars in a sealed container and place it in the fridge. Pecan pie bars will keep fresh for up to 2 weeks.
- To freeze. Freezing pecan pie bars require you to wrap each bar up in parchment paper and place them in a ziplock bag. Frozen pecan pie bars will keep fresh for up to 6 months.
- To thaw. Thaw pecan pie bars at room temperature or in the fridge overnight.
Recommended tools to make pecan pie bars
- Non-stick square pan. This is my favorite baking pan, and I use it for all brownies, bars, and other dessert bars.
- Saucepan. My go-to saucepan which I use to melt ingredients to heat up chocolate.
For the shortbread crust
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine your coconut flour, syrup and coconut oil (or butter) and mix well, until crumbly but firm. Transfer to the lined baking pan and press into it. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden.
- While the shortbread is baking, prepare your pecan topping.
- In a small saucepan, on medium heat, heat up the syrup, coconut oil, granulated sweetener, and salt. Once the granulated sweetener has become liquid and the mixture begins to bubble, add the pecans and continue cooking for one minute, before removing the from heat.
- Remove the shortbread from the oven and top with the pecan caramel mixture, and spread out to cover the entire shortbread. Bake for an extra 5 minutes, until the topping just begins to bubble- Do not overbake or it will dry out.
- Remove the pecan pie bars from the oven and allow to cool completely. Once cool, refrigerate for an hour, to firm up. Slice into bars.