Caramel Pecan Bars
My boys and I love this special treat around the holidays. This recipe is dairy and egg-free…makes a great gift too!
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, slightly softened
Pecan Topping Ingredients:
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2/3 cup brown rice syrup
2 tbsp melted non-hydrogenated margarine (I use Earth Balance)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13x2 baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure the foil completely covers the sides of the pan, with about 2 inches folded outside over the edges. Grease or spray the bottom and sides to prevent sticking.
For the crust:
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the margarine until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pour crumbs into the prepared baking pan and press down evenly and very firmly, making sure to press the mixture all the way to the edges of the pan. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes until firm and very lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside.
For the pecan topping:
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and non-dairy milk until foamy. Stir in the dark brown sugar, brown rice syrup, melted margarine, vanilla and salt until smooth. Fold in the pecans and pour the mixture onto the crust, using a spatula to spread the topping evenly.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for 28-30 minutes, or until the filling is rapidly bubbling. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes then move it to the refrigerator to finish cooling and setting. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
To slice completely cooled bars, grab a hold of the foil and carefully lift the whole thing out of the pan and onto a heavy cutting board. Peel away the foil and cut into bars with a heavy sharp knife.
This recipe is egg and dairy free which is hard to find in desserts. Although certainly not “healthy”, this recipe can be enjoyed as a special treat once in a while. My two boys especially enjoy making it at the holidays.