With Thanksgiving and the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s high time for a quick and easy vegan dessert recipe. They’re hard to come by, ya know?
I recently started a new job. Before having kids, I was one of those coworkers that loved to bring home-baked goodies in for everyone to eat on the job. Unfortunately (or fortunately, since I love my kids), now, I’m lucky to make it to work with matching shoes and socks.
Anyhoo, at my last job, I worked with several nurses who at the very least were familiar with veganism and at best were basically vegans themselves. Nowadays, I’m working (just one day/week) at a little clinic in a tiny town that is over a thousand miles away from all my vegan-eating friends in Tennessee. Without mentioning specifics, let’s just say that I live in meat and potato country. Seriously. I mention the word “tofu,” and my coworkers start freaking out. “Eeeew!!” “What is that stuff??” “You make lasagna with tofu in it??” <Insert disgusted but very curious faces here.>
When I discovered that one my new coworkers/friends had never ever even tasted tofu, I knew it was time for me to get cooking. I didn’t want to overwhelm her with crazy seasonings (why hello, yeast flakes), so I just stuck with the basic fried tofu in a little oil with salt. Having grown up with tofu in my life since almost babyhood, I have no idea what it would be like to not love tofu. I was pretty hopeful that it would be love at first sight, and my coworkers would be begging me for tofu for years to come. So, last week, I brought a tiny little container full of fried tofu to work with me.
I proudly presented it to my coworker, waiting for what I was sure would be squeals of delight. But alas, it was not to be. She hesitantly tasted the tiniest piece of tofu that she could find and managed to choke it down by telling herself it was pork chop–not exactly the response I was going for.
I’m sure many of us have experienced being questioned about our supposedly strange food at work. It isn’t always a fun position to be in–which is why I’m so excited to share this recipe with you today. I’m always looking for recipes that are easy enough to whip up on a moment’s notice, but that are also decadent and just overall fabulous enough to give as gifts to vegans and non-vegans alike–especially during the holidays.
I know you’re going to love serving up this sweet, salty, crunchy, and overall amazing festive cookie bar to all of your friends, family, and coworkers. I’m pretty sure it’ll leave them all speechless–in a good way, of course.
Vegan Maple Pecan Pie Bars
For the crust:
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup oil I used olive oil, but softened coconut oil would also work.
- 4-5 Tbs cold almond milk
For the Topping:
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To assemble your crust, stir flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Then, add your oil and almond milk, not stirring until both oil and almond milk have been poured into your flour mixture. (Start with 4 Tbs almond milk, and add extra tablespoon if mixture is dry.)
- Using a rolling pin (and a sprinkle of flour, if needed) roll crust out onto a greased or lined rimmed cookie sheet. (I used a 15 x 10 in. pan.)
- Fork your crust in numerous places.
- Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly across the top of your crust.
- Drizzle maple syrup evenly over the top of your pecans/crust. If you are trying to go easy on sweets and don’t want to use the full 3/4 cup of maple syrup, feel free to use less. I found that once baked, 3/4 cup was the perfect amount for my taste buds.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes.
- Remove bars from the oven and allow to cool for about 2 minutes, before scoring. Cutting your bars once your crust has completely cooled is difficult, so go ahead and cut them while they are still fairly hot.
- Leave scored bars in the pan to cool for 10 more minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
- Store your pecan pie bars in an airtight container for up to 5 days.