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Hi Bold Bakers!
In my opinion, no holiday spread is complete with out something pecan. My Vegan Pecan Pie Bars (Sugar-Free) tick all the boxes as they are loaded with toasted pecans, a sweet maple syrup filling, and feature a flaky shortbread crust. When it comes to healthy baking, I think it’s important to focus on all of the things we CAN have and CAN get creative with as opposed to thinking about all the things we’er limited to.
My Vegan Pecan Pie bars are an awesome example of how to take all the new ingredients out there and make something even better than what you’ve had before.
Do you need to cook the pecans first?
My Vegan Pecan Pie Bars start, of course with, pecans. I really like to toast my nuts before I add them into my filling mixture, as it brings out the flavor of the nut and helps them keep their crunch even after being baked.
To toast the nuts, I roughly chop them and then throw them into a 350°F (180°C) oven for about 7 minutes. This extra step is well worth it as the pecans are really the star of the show.
Can you use eggs instead of making these vegan?
While you can replace the flax in this recipe for 2 eggs, these Vegan Pecan Pie bars happen to be just as lovely made with out them. The ground flax used in the filling absorbs the liquid in the almond milk and maple syrup, and creates a custard-like texture just as eggs would.
What is tapioca starch? Do I have to use it?
The filling of my vegan pecan pie bars utilize an ingredient you may not have used before, tapioca starch — also called tapioca flour.
Tapioca starch is made from cassava root, which is a sweet root vegetable really common in South American cooking. It’s used in this recipe to take the place of a thickener, like cornstarch. If for some reason you want to substitute tapioca starch you can use arrowroot flour, too. That said you do need to use one of these options as you can not leave out the thickener altogether.
Does Lakanto Sugar act just like regular sugar?
In both the filling and the crust I use Lakanto sugar substitute and maple syrup. I love baking with these ingredients as they are naturally derived from monkfruit and have no aftertaste whatsoever. The crust combines coconut flour, coconut oil, and Lakanto sugar to make a gluten free and vegan shortbread crust. This crust is flakey and rich, you would never know it was sugar free!
The filling of the pecan pie bars combine Lakanto maple syrup, coconut oil, Lakanto sugar, ground flax, almond milk, and of course: pecans. The sugar and the maple syrup add just the right sweetness and moist texture to the bars, but leave behind all the refined sugar and unhealthy fats you want to avoid in store bought desserts.
What if my sugar crystalizes?
The only difference I see when baking with Lakanto sugar is that it can crystallize when cold. Because of this, I suggest you slice these up and serve them when cooled just to room temperature. Unlike other pies, these pecan pie bars do not need to set up in the fridge in order to hold together. The leftovers are lovely stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
If you do find the top has formed a bit of a sugary crust, just pop them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and they will look and taste like they just came out of the oven!
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Vegan Pecan Pie Bars (Sugar Free) Recipe
- 1 cup (4oz/115g) coconut flour
- 1/3 cup (2 ½ floz/71ml) coconut oil, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons Lakanto Maple Syrup, Maple syrup or honey
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2oz/213g) pecans, roughly chopped and toasted
- 3/4 cup (6oz/170g) Lakanto sugar, swerve or coconut sugar
- 1/3 cup (2 ½ floz/71ml) Lakanto Maple Syrup. or maple syrup
- 1/3 cup (2 ½ floz/71ml) coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup (2 ½ floz/71ml) almond milk, or any other non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons flax meal*
- 2 teaspoons tapioca starch*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
First make the crust:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) then line and 8x8 inch tin with coconut oil and parchment paper, set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the coconut oil, Lakanto maple syrup and vanilla. Once combined add in the coconut flour and salt. Mix together until a crumbly dough is formed.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared tin then use the palms of your hand to press into one even layer.
- Bake the crust to 9-10 minutes, until slightly golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool while making the filling.
- Remove the maple syrup mixture from the heat and allow to cool. While cooling the syrup may crisalize, dont worry as this dissolves when whisked.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the almond milk, flax*, tapioca starch*, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.
- Whisk the cooled maple syrup mixture into the almond milk mixture. Once combined fold in the pecans.
- Pour the pecan filling over the pre-baked crust then return to the oven for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool just to room temperature slicing into 16 squares.
- Once cooled cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- *These are best enjoyed slightly warm as once they cool or are refrigerated the Lakano sugar does crystalize. To reheat leftovers i suggest popping them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds.