These Paleo Pecan Pie Bars are made completely without refined sugar, and they taste way better than the classic version. Maple syrup takes the place of corn syrup, and the flavor is absolutely incredible!
Pecan Pie Bars are a longstanding Thanksgiving breakfast tradition in my family. When I was younger, we ate a normal breakfast just like any other day, skipped lunch, and then had an early turkey dinner. What always ended up happening, is that everyone wanted to try at least a few bites of each dessert. But none of us ever saved enough room.
So we decided to move some of the pie to breakfast time along with some scrambled eggs. I can’t even begin to tell you how good pecan pie is with coffee first thing on a holiday morning. But I’ll bet you can imagine it.
After pie for breakfast, the first order of business is to get some exercise outdoors. This really help to work up an adequate appetite for dinner. Then after dinner, if you happen to have room, it’s time for more pie. But if you overdid it on turkey (like I always do), it’s no big deal because you already had pie for breakfast.
However the last few years have been sadly lacking in the pecan pie department since we’ve been eating gluten free. This year I knew I had to figure out a new version of pecan pie though. It’s just been way too long without.
Now let’s dive in and make this Paleo Pecan Pie Bars recipe!
I decided to go with more of a shortbread crust for these bars. And I love the shortbread texture even more than regular pie crust!
The crust for this recipe comes together with just a bowl and spatula, no need for a mixer. I tried this crust several different ways. But in the end the crust had an egg added to it won out for the best texture.
Once the dough for the crust is thoroughly mixed, pat it as evenly as possible into the baking pan…
… and bake until it’s golden brown with small cracks in it. While the crust is baking, you make the filling on the stove top in a double boiler.
By heating it up on the stove first, the filling bakes more quickly than it normally would. This is good news for the crispy crust, and it makes for the smoothest filling I’ve ever had.
Replacing the usual corn syrup with maple syrup is everything for the best flavor!
I’ve never made pecan pie the completely traditional way with corn syrup. Instead I’ve always used pure maple syrup, and everyone always wants to know what my secret is.
I’ve used both Grade A amber and Grade B, and both are great. But you’ll definitely have more maple flavor with the Grade B syrup.
Tip: It really helps to buy maple syrup in bulk because it’s much more affordable. I usually buy mine from Costco where it’s a fraction of the cost it would be in a regular grocery store.
And of course we needed at least one photo where you can see the perfectly silky filling I was talking about. Just look at those gorgeous caramelized pecans sitting perched on top.
We’re changing things up a bit on Thanksgiving this year, and we’re going winter camping in Glacier National Park. Last year it was -10ºF on Thanksgiving Day, but I’m hoping it’ll be slightly warmer than that.
I’m going to make a big batch of these bars to take along on the trip. And if all goes well we’ll be enjoying Pecan Pie Bars while watching the sunrise. (Of course it will be from the warmth of my sleeping bag with a cup of coffee I might add.)
Recipe Note: Pecan Pie is not a low sugar dessert by any means. But it is one of my favorite holiday treats. And this version is made without any refined sugar at all which is a nice bonus.Print
These pecan pie bars are the best tasting pecan pie flavor I’ve ever had thanks to the maple syrup, and it’s an extra bonus they’re made without any refined sugar!
2 cups fine almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 stick salted butter, 8 Tablespoons, or 4 ounces, melted or ghee for paleo
Pecan Pie Filling:
6 Tablespoons salted butter, 3 ounces or ghee for paleo
1 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups toasted pecan pieces, see notes
7 whole pecan halves for decorating the top
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Mix together all the ingredients for the shortbread crust until a fairly stiff dough forms. Pat the crust as evenly as you can into a 9″x13″ baking dish, making a rim around the edges between 1/2″-3/4″ to hold the in the filling.
Bake the crust until light golden brown with cracks starting to form in the crust, about 15 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and lower the temperature to 300ºF
While the crust is baking, make the filling by combining the butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and eggs together in a double boiler.
Whisk constantly until the temperature of the filing registers 130ºF on a thermometer (see notes). Then remove the filling from the heat source, and whisk in the vanilla extract and pecan pieces.
When the crust is done, pour the hot filling over the hot crust, arranging a few whole pecans on the top if desired. Then bake the pecan pie bars until lightly puffed in the middle, about 15-20 minutes.
The second baking time will vary according to how hot both the crust and filling are when you put the bars into the oven. The way to tell if pecan pie is done is when it’s puffed in the middle, but still jiggles like jello would.
These bars keep really well in the fridge for several days, and they can also be frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight container.
I toast my pecans on a sheet pan in the oven at 300ºF for about 20 minutes, shaking them 3-4 times during the baking process.
You can make the filling without a thermometer, but you have to be really careful not to get the filling too hot, or it will scramble the eggs in the filling, which ruins it. I have made it without a thermometer before, and I just remove it from the heat when it starts to feel hotter than warm, but not so hot as to scorch your finger.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Paleo Pecan Pie Recipe, Paleo Pecan Pie Bars Recipe, Gluten Free Pecan Pie Bars