Clean Swap: Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars

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My mother has been raving about these bars that her husband makes for all their dinner guests. He won’t share the recipe with them for fear that his secret will be revealed and these bars will become everyone’s go-to treat, but I’ve decided to publicly post it here - ha ha! I assume none of them will ever see this post :) If you’ve been following me for awhile you’ll know that I’m no professional chef. I do like to test other blogger’s healthy recipes and, when I come across something good that I think could be “cleaned up” it’s fun to do so. In fact, I redesigned my childhood comfort meal, hash and waffles, into a fabulously healthful meal for a nutrition school project. Roasted free-range chicken, made-from-scratch gluten-free gravy, sweet potato waffles… delish!

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Just as hash and waffles are a southern thing, you can’t keep this North Carolina native away from anything that remotely smells of pecan pie. This twist on the traditional is much easier to make and a cinch to serve. My cleaner version swaps out the all-purpose (i.e. glyphosate-laden) flour for a non-GMO gluten-free blend and removes any trace of corn syrup. Corn syrup is a heavily refined sweetener made from… you guessed it, corn. Like most wheat grown in the United States, the vast majority of our corn supply contains potentially unsafe levels of glyphosate (i.e. Roundup). Why use highly processed GMO corn syrup in a homemade recipe when you can sub flavorful and natural maple syrup? Yes, I get that there’s a price difference, but can you put a price on your health?

So, here’s my healthier take on this secret magazine recipe. I’ve included links to some of my go-to brands, but they’re by no means the only choices. Hope you enjoy!

Before

Before

After

After

Carrie’s Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars

CRUST:
1/2 cup pecans
1 1/2 cups non-GMO gluten-free flour blend
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp himalayan or celtic sea salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

TOPPING:
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup stevia baking blend (or 1/2 cup other organic sugar or monkfruit)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
4 pasture-raised eggs (of course, your local farmer is often the best choice!)
4 T melted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups pecans
3 oz bittersweet chocolate

1.  Preheat oven to 350˚
2.  Line a 9x13 dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Coat with coconut oil.
3.  Pulse pecans, flour, sugar and salt to combine. Add cubes of cold butter.
4.  Press in the bottom of the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
5.  Whisk first 7 topping ingredients.
6. Spread over warm crust and sprinkle evenly with pecans and chocolate chips.
7. Bake for 30-35 min.
8.  Cut into squares or diamonds.

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