Butter Pecan Bars

Here’s a holiday treat that's safe for the GF folks in your life (you might be included in this), but so yummy the non-GF people won’t mind…or even notice! No, they’re not dairy-free if that’s a concern for you, and yes, there’s a hefty serving of sweeteners like coconut palm sugar and maple syrup terrible for blood sugar control, but as long as you’re using quality ingredients, and only having a small piece, the harm is arguably minimal. And in all honestly, if you can avoid the refined sugar, refined flour, chemical-laden, shit-storm that consumes so many people’s lives at this time of year, you’re doing alright in my books!

If you live in Victoria like me, and are looking for a kick-ass all-purpose gluten-free flour, I HIGHLY encourage you to grab a jar of Nourish’s blend, made from gluten-free oats, tapioca, and sorghum. Not only is the 750ml portion the perfect amount for this recipe, but it’s extremely forgiving, and not at all dry and chalky like so many of the others out there.

Of course, like all my recipes, I encourage creativity and alterations. If you are dairy-free, you’re welcome to sub the butter and heavy cream for slightly firm coconut oil and thick coconut cream, but pay head – it won’t look like the picture. I’ve tried it, and it tasted delicious, but the consistency is quite a bit different. Just a warning…

Other than that, whip up a batch of these crowd-pleasing squares to share with loved ones during this fun and festive time of year!

Butter Pecan Bars (gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooling time for crust: 15-20 minutes

Bake time: 15-20 minutes

*Makes roughly 20 bars

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 cup unsalted grass-fed butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 3-3.5 cups (about 750ml) all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt

For the filling:

  • 1 cup unsalted grass-fed butter
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup heavy grass-fed cream
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups raw pecan halves

Directions

For the crust: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the softened butter and coconut sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2- 2½ minutes.
  3. Add the honey and sea salt and mix to combine.
  4. Add the gluten free all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  5. Continue mixing until the batter clings together in clumps (you may need to add a bit more flour if it’s not clumping, or if it’s too dry, add a bit more honey).
  6. In a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan press the dough into an even 1/4-inch thick layer.
  7. Prick the dough all over with a fork and place the pan in the refrigerator to chill for approximately 15-20 minutes. 

For the filling: 

  • While the crust is cooling, melt the second batch of butter over low heat, and add the coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, and cream.
  • Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
  • Let it boil for a minute or two until it starts to thicken.
  • Turn the heat down to a simmer, add the vanilla, salt, and spices, give it a good mix, and then add the pecans so that they’re fully coated.
  • Pour the sweet mixture over the crust, spreading it out evenly, and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove, let cool completely on a wire rack (this may take a couple hours), cut into squares, and enjoy!

**FOR EASY CUTTING: Loosen the edges of the crust around the pan with a knife. Then cover the pan with a large baking sheet, and while holding the edges together, flip upside down. Gently tap the bottom of the pan a few times, and lift up the pan. The crust should separate from the pan easily thanks to all that butter in the batter (if you're nervous about this though, you can either separately grease the pan or line it with parchment paper ahead of time). Now the dessert is upside down on the baking sheet. Place a cutting board on it, flip over once again, and then cut it into squares on the cutting board.