Pecan Pie Bars
When I was in the 4th grade, I had a Southern teacher who always explained to us that "Pee-cans are kept under the bed, and puh-cahns are baked in a pie." She hated when if you said otherwise, and she would tease anyone who disagreed. I hated standing out, so I just agreed. And now that I'm older, I think she was right. Because really, who wants to think about urine when they're talking pie? Anyway, it's something that always stuck with me, something I remember every time I see pecans in any form. And yes, I pronounce it 'puh-cahn'. Because it seems right. But however you pronounce them, you probably like them. Pecans are a rich, earthy nut that pairs well with all kinds of fruit - but like most things, tastes best drowned in a sugary syrup and baked on a crust. Pecan pies are great, but things in mini-form are cuter and easier to share. Plus, at our age we're mostly celebrating Friendsgiving's and less formal family dinners, and pre-sliced goodies are easier to pack into doggy bags for your friends. These bars are super easy to whip up and are as equally as delicious as their round cousin, but better because there's more crust - and that's my favorite part. You're friends will be impressed when you bring these to the table, and even more impressed if you get fancy and top 'em with a bit of homemade coconut whipped cream. But you get it, so I'll shut up while you preheat the oven. Let's bake!
1 cup vegan butter (we used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoons coconut cream*
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans
Whipped coconut cream, for serving
sprinkle of ground cinnamon, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the crust, cream together the butter and brown sugar in a stand up mixer or with beaters. Add flour and salt and mix until crumbly. Press into a parchment-lined 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
While the crust bakes, prep the pecan topping by whisking together butter, brown sugar, coconut cream, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat until everything melts and combines, about 5 minutes. Once the mixture comes completely together, add the chopped pecans and mix them in. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring occasionally until the crust is finished cooking.
When the crust finishes, remove it from the oven and pour the pecan mixture over the crust. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let cool completely, then slice into 12 (or more) equal squares. Enjoy!
Makes 12 3x3 in. squares.
Coconut cream is the thick white cream layer from the top of a can of full fat coconut milk. We also like using Trader Joe's brand coconut cream.
Leftover bars can be saved in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week.