[Paleo] Caramel Pecan Bars

I&I Update:  Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a free 32oz jar (quart) of coconut oil from Tropical Traditions!  Click here to find out how to enter. [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

This post has been a long time coming.  Paleo or not, these bars are delicious – rich, caramely, and sweet.  Unfortunately, I can’t take any credit for coming up with this recipe or even adapting it the tiniest bit.  All credit goes straight to Juli at PaleOMG.  She is pretty much a Paleo master and has SO many amazing Paleo-friendly recipes.

Prior to these bars, I had never cooked with or eaten a date.  What have I been waiting for all these years?!  These little nuggets are pure amazing.  Who would’ve ever thought you could make caramel out of them?!  That’s right, caramel… from dates… with no sugar and no butter.  Sound crazy?  It kind of is.  Just do yourself a favor and make these immediately.  If you choose to share them, don’t even tell anyone they’re Paleo – They won’t even notice because they’re that good.

Paleo-Caramel-Pecan-Bars_Inspire-and-Indulge

First things first – You need to pit and soak your medjool dates.  I simply made a slit in the side, removed the pit and put them all in a bowl of water.  Do this step first because they need to soak for about an hour.

Tip:  I found medjool dates in the bulk food section of my local grocery store.

Next, preheat your oven to 375 degrees (F) and light grease an 8″ x 8″ pan.

While your dates are soaking, add your pecans to your food processor and blend until you get a fairly fine meal.

Paleo-Caramel-Pecan-Bars_Pecans

Add your melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract and blend again.

Tip:  Don’t be alarmed if you don’t have a heavy-duty food processor.  As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I have a small whimpy Cuisinart one and it handled these pecans like butter.  Luckily, pecans are a pretty soft nut so it doesn’t take much power to pulverize them!

Paleo-Caramel-Pecan-Bars_Pecan-Butter

Scoop the pecan mixture out of your food processor and add to a small mixing bowl.  Add your almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and egg and whisk to combine.

Tip:  Don’t bother dirtying your mixer for this.  The mixture is really easy to combine with a hand whisk and takes less than a minute.

Pour your mixture into your greased 8″ x 8″ pan and use a spoon/spatula to spread it out evenly.  This will be the crust of your bars.  Bake for roughly 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Paleo-Caramel-Pecan-Bars_Crust

When it’s finished baking, remove from oven and let cool completely.

After your dates have been soaking for an hour, add them to your food processor.

Tip:  You can wipe/rinse out your food processor if you want but I didn’t bother since it didn’t contain any inedible raw ingredients earlier.

Chop the dates for about a minute or so, scraping down the sides as necessary.  This mixture should resemble a thick paste.  Slowly add your coconut milk and water a tablespoon at a time.  Keep adding until you reach a consistency you’re happy with.  Remember, this is your frosting so you want it to be spreadable but not runny.  It will firm up slightly in the fridge.

Paleo Caramel Pecan Bars_Caramel Frosting 2

Next, add your vanilla extract and salt.  Keep blending until you have a beautiful caramel frosting.  Spread the caramel frosting on top of your cooled bars and place your pan in your refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Paleo-Caramel-Pecan-Bars_Frosted

Cut into bars and enjoy!  Make sure to keep any leftovers stored in the fridge.

Paleo-Caramel-Pecan-Bars_Inspire-and-Indulge-2

[Paleo] Caramel Pecan Bars

Inspired by PaleOMG

Serves 8-10

Linked to Thursday’s Treasures and Trick or Treat Tuesday #8

Ingredients (Bars)

  • 1.5 cups pecan halves
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Ingredients (Caramel Frosting)

  • 12-14 medjool dates
  • 5-6 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 2-4 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

What to Do

  1. Pit and soak your medjool dates.  I simply made a slit in the side, removed the pit and put them all in a bowl of water.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (F) and light grease an 8″ x 8″ pan.
  3. While your dates are soaking, add your pecans to your food processor and blend until you get a fairly fine meal.
  4. Add your melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract and blend again.
  5. Scoop the pecan mixture out of your food processor and add to a small mixing bowl.
  6. Add your almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and egg and whisk to combine.
  7. Pour your mixture into your greased 8″ x 8″ pan and use a spoon/spatula to spread it out evenly.  This will be the crust of your bars.
  8. Bake for roughly 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  When it’s finished baking, remove from oven and let cool completely.
  9. After your dates have been soaking for an hour, add them to your food processor.  Chop the dates for about a minute or so, scraping down the sides as necessary.  This mixture should resemble a thick paste.
  10. Slowly add your coconut milk and water a tablespoon at a time.  Keep adding until you reach a consistency you’re happy with.  Remember, this is your frosting so you want it to be spreadable but not runny.  It will firm up slightly in the fridge.
  11. Add your vanilla extract and salt.  Keep blending until you have a beautiful caramel frosting.  Spread the caramel frosting on top of your cooled bars and place your pan in your refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
  12. Cut into bars and enjoy!  Make sure to keep any leftovers stored in the fridge.

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39 thoughts on “[Paleo] Caramel Pecan Bars

  1. OMG I want these right now!!! Date caramel has been on my list to try for so long, and this is such an amazing looking application of it! Freaking. Love. Also, love that leopard material background 🙂

    • Thank you, Erika! I definitely don’t think you’ll be disappointed when you get around to making date caramel. I was blown away by how amazing and easy it was. Next time I think I may need to soak my dates a little longer if I want a smoother caramel (aka no small chunks)… but then again, those little chunks were delicious haha. As for the background, I took a page from your photography book – It’s actually one of my scarves. 😉

    • It really is SO good and I love that it’s still creamy and spreadable. This was my first time trying dates in any form and I look forward to using them in the future. Let me know if you make the caramel!

  2. These looks AMAZING. I just made the banana pumpkin muffins, too. After trying those, I REALLY want to try these. Wow.

    In case you’re curious, I used almond flour instead of coconut. I wound up using 1 cup of it. Almond flour seems to have a similar density to regular white flour (would you say the same thing from baking with it or is that just me?) and, in all honesty, I probably did myself a disservice by not halving the eggs instead…that probably would have saved me the extra 1/2 cup of almond flour! Live and learn. I also used almond milk (same measurements) and halved the salt and the nutmeg. They came out fantastically! It’s nice to have such a tasty dessert that isn’t loaded with butter and sugar. 😀

    • Thanks, Chelsey! I’m so glad you tried the banana pumpkin muffins and shared your modifications. This will definitely come in handy if I don’t have any coconut flour on hand. Did you make 12 mini muffins or 6 regular size muffins? Next time I was thinking about doing full size muffins but I wasn’t sure how the middles would turn out.

      • I used a regular muffin tin, but I got 12 out of it. They were just really short. =P If you increase the size of the muffins, do you think it would help to increase the cooking time and maybe tent them with foil to keep the outside from over-cooking? That’s the only thing I can think to do. Not sure how well it would work, though. :/

        • I used a regular muffin tin too – I kind of like the look of the short muffins. 🙂 If you make full-size muffins, I definitely think the cooking time would need to be increased but I can’t say by exactly how much. I’d start with an extra 5 minutes and keep checking from there. I like your idea of tenting with foil too!

          • Haha! The short muffins are definitely cute. 😛 Zach and I ate them so quickly that I think I need to make a second batch. I’m loving these for breakfast!

    • Isn’t it awesome to find a new food/ingredient and really enjoy it? 🙂 I feel like it opens up so many new possibilities! Let me know if you come across any great recipes featuring dates!

    • Thank you, Stephanie! 🙂 I’m so excited about this caramel frosting – it’s still blowing my mind that there’s no butter, oil, or sugar and it still tastes fabulous. The animal print is actually one my scarves – I was improvising haha. 🙂

  3. Can I just say how much I love these posts? Who knew you could make caramel from dates? I’ve got tons of dates (use those in smoothies all the time) but will have to see about getting pecans. Excellent post, Leah, as usual!

    • Thanks, Joan – You’re the best! I can’t wait to try this caramel frosting on other things – like cupcakes and cakes… I bet it would be SO good and WAY better for me than a buttercream frosting. Adding dates to smoothies sounds delicious! Consider that added to my date to-do list. 😉

    • Thanks, Alex! The pecan bar/crust is awesome. If you’re in a hurry and need a quick pecan fix, just stop at step 4 and eat the pecan butter by the spoonful – It’s delicious all by itself!

  4. This is such a great recipe! Can’t wait to try! I have all the ingredients except coconut milk…I’m thinking I can substitute it with almond milk..what do you think? I LOVE replacing sugar with dates 😉 Hope you and Jon have a wonderful weekend!!

    • I think you could definitely substitute almond milk! I’m excited you have all of the other ingredients – you’ll have to let me know how they turn out/what you think. 🙂 I’m new to the idea of replacing sugar with dates but so far I love it! Feel free to share any date recipes you may have – you sound like you’re familiar with them!

    • I know – That was my reaction when I saw the recipe on PaleOMG! So awesome! This is definitely a must try – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

  5. I can’t believe that luscious, buttery-looking layer of caramel was made from dates. My mind is officially blown! And is that a one-cup food processor? I only have a one-cup and I never use it because I don’t think it’s big enough to do anything in. I’m amazed that you were able to make this using yours so I better dust mine off! This is a fabulous recipe, Leah, thanks for sharing!

    • If you think your mind is blown now, wait til you actually taste the caramel frosting! 😉 I think it’s actually a two-cup food processor but it’s so whimpy that I usually don’t ever put more than one cup of anything in it. If you’re patient and willing to work in smaller batches, you can definitely get some mileage out of your little one!

  6. Can’t wait to try this! I also want to experiment more with banana bread and I’m thinking I might sub the pecan butter from this recipe in for the almond butter in the banana bread. Yay for inspiration! 🙂

    • Ohhh, that is an awesome idea! This pecan butter is REALLY good. I’m thinking about making another batch just to put in a mason jar and use as a spread. I’d love to hear how it turns out in your banana bread!

  7. I’m not familiar with paleo diet but I know this is a decadent Caramel Pecan Bar! Can’t wait to try this. 🙂 And I got the same mini food processor just like yours.

    • You know a dessert recipe is a good one if you still think it’s decadent and not a “diet” recipe. 😉 Your mini food processor will work great for this! Let me know your thoughts on the bars!

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