Vegan Chocolate Maple Caramel Pecan Bars

For thanksgiving this year, I went the vegan route for both of my desserts and holy cow, I don’t think I’m going back to non-vegan desserts anytime soon. I always thought I wasn’t that great of a baker, but maybe I was just baking with the wrong ingredients. I cut these bars into pretty small chunks because they are super sweet / heavy, but totally worth all of the calories. If you love your friends / family, or want them to love you, or maybe at least tolerate you, make these for your upcoming holiday parties.

Vegan Chocolate Maple Caramel Pecan Bars

From Post Punk Kitchen (with slight adaptations): http://www.theppk.com/2011/08/maple-pecan-pie/

For the crust
1 cup Earth Balance, softened (I used the buttery sticks)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat the butter, brown sugar, flour and salt with an electric mixer, starting on low speed and increasing to medium. Once the mixture turns into coarse crumbs (and turns a light brown color from the brown sugar), press it evenly into the bottom of an 8 x 8 greased pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, let cool for about 10 minutes.

For the filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup earth balance
6 oz extra firm silken tofu
1/4 cup cold unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecan halves
chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

  1. In a sauce pan, mix together sugars and maple syrup. Heat over medium heat, stirring often with a whisk. Once small bubbles start rapidly forming, stir pretty constantly for about 10 minutes. (During this time I started the next step below) I found that the mixture should be bubbling for the 10 minutes, but not too crazily, once it’s thick, it’s done. Add the earth balance, and stir to melt. Turn the heat off, transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.
  2. In a blender, add the tofu, almond milk, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla. Puree until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender.
  3. With the caramel still warm in the mixing bowl, add in the tofu mixture and the vanilla, and mix well. Fold in the pecans to incorporate.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust and stud with your chocolate chips.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes

Once cool, I transferred the pan to the fridge for a bit to get the bars hard enough so that I could cut them. Of course, they’re pretty delicious warm too, albeit a bit messy!

 

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