Coconut Caramel Pecan Bars

Pecan bars with a hint of cinnamon topped with a tender coconut caramel.

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This is one of those kinds of treats that I like to have up my sleeve around this time of year.

You can throw them together in an instant and they keep for days in the fridge.  Plus, because these are entirely raw, there’s no baking involved.  And besides, caramel and pecans just go so well together.

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The crust is the press-in kind with flavors reminiscent of graham cracker crumbs thanks to coconut sugar and a hint of cinnamon. Pecans, walnuts and coconut are pulsed together in the food processor to make the crumb-like crust that creates the base of these bars.

Next, a sheet of sweet and salty coconut caramel oozes and stretches out over the top of the crust and sets up in the fridge.  It’s firm and buttery with notes of vanilla and brown sugar and little bits of crunchy pecans throughout.

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One of the great things about these pecan bars is the consistency of the topping; it’s tender yet holds its shape nicely when sliced.  Once fully cooled and set in the fridge, you simply lift and slice them into whatever sized bars you like and serve.  I prefer to eat mine somewhere between chilled and room temperature for a firmer consistency but they are lovely either way and just get softer and even more tender as they sit.

For the minimal time investment the payoff is superb.  Ideal for when you need something quick and easy for a holiday party or really for any day of the week.  Their sweet, nutty, caramel flavor is bound to win you over.

What are your favorite treats to make for the holidays?

Coconut Caramel Topped Cinnamon Pecan Bars

Yields Makes about 10-12 bars

Pecan bars with a hint of cinnamon are topped with a tender coconut caramel studded with pecans.

20 minPrep Time

1 hr, 20 Total Time

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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Start by soaking the raisins in warm water for about 5-10 minutes, then drain and pat them dry before proceeding.
  3. Place the pecans, walnuts, coconut, cinnamon, coconut sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the soaked raisins and process until the mixture starts to clump together (like shortbread dough).
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Flatten the mixture firmly and evenly in the pan using your hands or the back of a spoon.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut nectar, coconut butter (if your coconut butter is very solid at room temperature rewarm it gently in a bowl set over a larger bowl of warm water before mixing with the coconut nectar), vanilla extract and a pinch of salt until thoroughly combined and caramel-like. Stir in the chopped pecans.
  6. Carefully spread the caramel evenly on top of the crust using with the back of a spoon.
  7. Cover loosely and place in fridge to firm for at least an hour.
  8. Lift the bars from the pan, transfer to a cutting board and cut into bars. Serve at room temperature and store leftovers in the fridge.

Notes

http://gourmandeinthekitchen.com/2014/coconut-caramel-pecan-bars/

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Comments

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  1. says

    Great minds think alike! I came up with the exact same caramel recipe on my website a while back, and I love the simplicity of it! Its the perfect raw, vegan caramel. I use it all the time as a filling in chocolates, poured over ice cream, and in faux candy bars. It looks beautiful in your coconut pecan bars.

    Question though, in the ingredients you list coconut butter, but in the directions you list coconut oil instead? Did you use both? I found I had to gently heat the coconut butter to get it to mix well with the coconut nectar, though I could see coconut oil mixing a in lot easier at room temp as you described, that is why I asked?

    Trick or Treat!!

    • says

      Thanks for catching that mistake! I had tried the caramel three ways, once with all coconut oil which made a lovely sauce but was too thin, once with half coconut oil and half coconut butter which was fantastic out of the fridge but a little too gooey at room temperature and finally settled on all coconut butter which was just the right consistency. Thanks for the suggestion on re-heating, my room temperature maybe a little warmer than most people’s homes are so I didn’t have any trouble combining the two but I’ve gone back and added a note recommending that now.

  2. says

    You have knocked this one out of the park (sorry for the baseball analogy but, you know, the Royals are in the World Series…squee!!!). Love this recipe and can’t wait to give it a try!

    • says

      I’d really recommend not substituting anything for it as it has a very special taste and texture which is essential in for the caramel. If you are having a hard time finding it locally you can order it from Amazon. Otherwise the only other thing I’d say you could try as a replacement would be date syrup which I believe would be trickier to find.

  3. Tarra says

    These bars look so very delicious! I was wondering if I could use Medjool dates in place of the raisins?
    Thank you so much! Love your recipes and website:)
    Warmly,
    Tarra

    • says

      Yes you can if you’d like but the crust will be a little stickier and won’t have quite the same graham cracker-like taste as with the raisins.

  4. Rita says

    These are awesome! Can they be frozen until Thanksgiving? Are raisins the binding agent in the crust? Mine is pretty crumbly and I wonder if adding a few more might help hold it together? Thanks!

    • says

      Yes they can be frozen and yes the raisins are the binder. If your crust is too crumbly maybe the raisins didn’t soak quite long enough, the crust should be damp enough to press down but not too wet or sticky as it will firm in the fridge. Hope that helps!

  5. Rofi says

    Hi there. Highly recommended! People who still love wheat baking go for this beautiful, elegant treat. So a good recipe to make when someone is just starting to become aware of other ways of preparing treats. Our coconut nectar is rather strong and salty tasting, so I used 1/4 cup coconut nectar and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Absolutely delicious. To me, the base had an elusive and delicious malty flavour. Made coconut butter in the vitamix, worked well but not totally smooth – but still utterly delicious. Three cups of shredded organic coconut made about 1 1/2 cups of coconut butter.