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Hey there, Havenly fans! My name is Emilie, and I’m the blogger at EmilieEats.com. I’m also a Master’s student studying to become a Registered Dietitian. I share plant-based recipes, nutrition tips, sustainable living advice, home design, travel inspiration, and more. 

Today, I’m here to share my downright delicious recipe for vegan pecan pie bars. Who’s as excited as I am? (Probably not anyone, because I’m writing this while eating a pecan pie bar and drinking coffee.)

I live in Colorado now, but I didn’t grow up in the mountains—quite the opposite, actually. I’m from the swamps of Louisiana, where pecans are a state treasure, and we eat them like candy. Usually, you can find someone who grows them and will gift you a bag of fresh pecans.

 Safe to say, pecan pie is a holiday staple in my family and many other southern families. I’m bringing that tradition up to the mountains and baking these pecan pie bars for everyone I know. I’m sure no one will object.

Why pecan pie bars instead of traditional pecan pie? If you don’t have a pie pan–how many of us make pies regularly–I’m sure you have a baking dish. That’s what we’re using for these bars. I think it’s easier to serve bars because they can be cut into individually-size portions. 

Let’s talk about the ingredients.

  • Flour: The base of our crust. Don’t be intimidated by making pie crust–it’s super easy.
  • Vegan butter: Take it out of the fridge right before you use it. We need the butter to be cold when we cut it into the flour.
  • Sweeteners: To avoid using corn syrup, I’m using a mix of dates, brown sugar, maple syrup, and a hint of molasses for the sweet filling.
  • Pecans: Obviously!
  • We’ll also need a little non-dairy milk (soy, almond, coconut, rice, oat, anything works!), ground flaxseed, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.

The Secrets of Seasoned Hosts

These holiday hosting tips should make your holiday season a little less stressful. I just bought my first home (which Havenly is helping me design!), so I’m sure there will be many holidays to come where I host. And I need all the help I can get.

1.  Ask your guests to bring a dish or two. This will take some of the cooking burdens off of you.

2.  Cut corners in cooking. Buy canned or pre-chopped vegetables, stuffing mix, etc. Basically, don’t try to bake your first loaf of sourdough to impress your holiday guests, just buy it.

3.  Keep a well-stocked bar cart in view. Your friends and guests can make themselves drinks while you’re doing other things. And make sure to pour yourself a glass!

4.  Prepare some dishes ahead. Like these pecan pie bars, some dishes can be made a couple of days before the big day. Take advantage of that and prep as much in advance as possible. You could arrange the fruit tray or cook soup. 

5.  Keep snacks on hand. Just in case the meal is running a bit late, make sure you have a plethora of crackers, nuts, olives, and dried fruit for guests to snack on.

6.  Ask a friend or two to come over earlier. They can help set the table, tidy up, decorate, mix drinks, and other minor things so you can focus on the big stuff.

 Most importantly, breathe! These are people who love you and want to celebrate with you.

The Recipe

I hope you make these delectable pecan pie bars and use some of the hosting strategies I suggested. At the end of the day, the holidays are fun. Embrace that!

Yield: 12 bars

Prep time: 30 mins; Cook time: 45 mins

Ingredients 

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cold dairy-free butter

7 Tablespoons ice-cold water

1 cup pitted dates

1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 Tablespoon blackstrap molasses

1 Tablespoon flax meal

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Instructions 

1.  Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.

2.  Add dates to bowl; pour hot water to cover. After 10 minutes, drain.

3.  In a large bowl, add flour. Add dairy-free butter, using a pastry blender or fork, cut butter into small pieces and incorporate into the flour. The mixture should look like coarse, wet sand.

4.  Slowly add water 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring, until a dough forms. Dump the dough onto a floured surface; knead until a smooth dough forms. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle the size of your baking dish. Place dough into the pan and press down to ensure even thickness.

5.  Add drained dates and non-dairy milk to a blender. Blend until smooth.

6.  Warm a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Add date mixture, brown sugar, maple syrup, and molasses, stirring constantly. Cook for 10 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Add flax meal, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Stir and cook for 5-10 more minutes, stirring constantly.

7.  Chop 1 cup of the pecan halves. Add the chopped pecans to the sugar mixture; stir to combine.

8.  Pour the mixture over the crust. Arrange remaining 1/2 cup pecan halves on top of the filling.

9.  Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until the filling has hardened a bit.

If you’re looking for more Thanksgiving recipe inspiration, here’s what we’re serving for the main course. Share your table with us using #myhavenly so we can see all your mouth-watering creations. And if you don’t already, follow us @thehavenly on Instagram! In the meantime, shop this designer-curated selection of servingware and decor perfect for Thanksgiving.