With the holidays just around the corner, these healthy pecan pie bars are a recipe that’s sure to surprise and delight any guests that stop by for a visit. These healthy pecan pie bars are buttery, caramelly and super tasty!
I love when I’m baking or cooking and the house just smells like the holidays – it always puts a smile on my face. It just isn’t the holidays without pecan pie, is it? It’s one of my favorite desserts at Thanksgiving.
But, there’s no nice way to say this…it’s a little heavy and calorie laden.
I know a lot of people are looking for healthy dessert alternatives for the holidays (I did an Instagram poll asking what types of holidays recipe people were looking for, and the #1 response was healthier treats!)
Then I was flipping through the pages of the cookbook Cooking that Counts (1200-1500 calorie meal plans from the editors of Cooking Light) and spotted this beautiful recipe for maple pecan bars, clocking in at 149 calories.
I’ve made many many recipes from the cookbook, and they all come out great. These healthy pecan pie bars were no exception.
They’re chewy and taste just like a pecan pie!
I made these bars for a housewarming party and they all got eaten, no one even knew they were on the healthier side!
I think there’s always room for another dessert to sit next to pumpkin pie or orange cranberry cake bars!
These healthy pecan pie bars are a wonderful addition to any holiday party and offer a healthy alternative for a holiday treat!
Other recipes you might enjoy:
- Pecan Pie Carmelita Bars
- 5 Ingredient Toasted Pecan Snowball Cookies
- Cinnamon Sugar Pecan Challah Braid
Healthy Pecan Pie Bars
- Four the crust:
- 1 cups flour all purpose, gluten free, or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the filling:
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup whole pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line a 9 inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper.
- To make the crust: in a food processor combine flour, cornstarch, brown sugar, butter, baking powder, vanilla extract and salt, pulse until mixture resembles a fine meal.
- Press the flour mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until the edges of the crust are slightly browned.
- While the crust makes, make the filling: Combine the syrup and the next 3 ingredients (through 1 tablespoon butter) in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat; add the pecans and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, stirring with a whisk. Pour the mixture into the hot crust. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until the filling is bubbling. Cool completely in the pan. Cut into 20 bars.
Can these pecan bars be made ahead and frozen?
I’ve never tried that but I suspect it would be totally fine!
Is there any other subsitute besides butter for the crust?
You could use a dairy free butter!
Can these be made the day before? If so, how do you store them? Are they best served warm? Can you replace the maple syrup with something else?
These can definitely be made ahead of time. I would recommend storing them in an air tight container in the refrigerator. I actually like these bars cold vs. warm.
Honey, molasses, agave nectar, and corn syrup can all be substituted (1 for 1) in place of maple syrup.
Yummy!! If I use a 8×8 inch pan to bake these in. Should I make any changes in the recipie? Like cut it in half? Also how about whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour?
You could totally make these in an 8×8 inch pan – only change I think would be the bake time will be a little longer, but check and see!
You don’t need to cut the ingredients in half, they’ll just be nice bigger/thicker bars!
Also yes, you can use whole wheat flour instead.
Can you confirm 1/2 CUP cornstarch?
Yes, that is correct 🙂
So glad that these bars can be made into gluten free bars. Thank you.
You’re so welcome, hope you love them as much as we do!
These look delicious! Can you say more about what makes them healthier than regular pecan bars?
I was just making these and came across this comment without a response, so sorry about that, must have slipped through the cracks. What makes these healthier than regular pecan pie bars is that there’s no corn syrup and a lot less sugar, in turn, they’re a lot lower in calories 🙂 Hope that helps
Alex Mason says
Looks great. Too bad very few cafes have those kinds of desserts.
Thank you so much, so glad you like these type of desserts 🙂