Calling anyone with a serious sweet tooth! You are about to meet your match! There are lots of recipes for desserts on this site, from lemon curd tarts and strawberry & rhubarb bars to espresso cheesecake, but these pecan and caramel shortbread bars take the cake (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
These bars are decadent and super sweet so I recommend cutting them into small slices and storing them in fridge so that the caramel remains firm (plus I personally think the flavor is better when cold). I never would have guessed that blended dates could create such a deliciously smooth and creamy caramel like consistency! I topped these bars with chopped pecans, but walnuts or hazelnuts would also work well, just be sure to sprinkle them with salt to cut through the sweetness of the caramel.
Dates are a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, and a food I used to avoid as I thought they were too high in sugar. I’m not going to lie to you, they contain more sugar than the average piece of fruit, but it’s natural sugar which is better for you then refined sugar. Dates are a low-glycemic index food which means the natural sugars wont significantly raise your blood sugar levels. They are also a great source of fibre with 1 date containing approximately 6% of your recommended daily intake helping to lower cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels, reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Sold on the health benefits of dates? Great, now I think its time to go these bars! Serve a small slice with a scoop of ice cream for the ultimate decadent dessert that no one will ever believe is grain, dairy and refined sugar free!
- 1½ cups Almond Flour
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil (or butter)
- 3 tbsp honey (or other sweetener)
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1½ cup dates
- 1 cup coconut cream
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1¼ cups toasted pecans, chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)and line a 9 x 9 inch baking tin with foil
- In a mixing bowl combine the ingredients for the base
- Empty the dough into the tin and pat down to form a 1.5-2 cm thick base. Place in the oven and let bake for approx 10-12 minutes until it begins to turn a golden brown
- Place the dates in a food processor and blend until they form a thick paste, add in the coconut cream (make sure you use only cream and not coconut water), vanilla extract, salt and coconut oil. Blend until smooth.
- Once the shortbread has cooled, pour the caramel on top and evenly distribute with a spoon across the base
- Toss the chopped pecans with the salt in a bowl and then sprinkle the nuts over the top of the bars.
- Place the baking tin in the fridge for approx 20 minutes to allow the caramel to become firm. Cut into small slices and serve.
- These can be stored in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 5 days.