In honor of tomorrow’s Derby Day celebrations, I decided to take on the challenge of devising healthier versions of some traditional southern dishes, the likes of which are commonly served at Derby parties. Yesterday I shared with you my allergy-friendly version of cheese grits: Vegan Garlic “Cheese” Grits. Today’s challenge: pecan pie.
Now this was a fun challenge. I don’t know that there’s anything I love more than pecan pie. I also can’t think of a more well-known, classically southern dessert. But I didn’t want to make just any pecan pie. I wanted to make an easy, raw, allergy-friendly and healthy version of pecan pie that would also be perfect for serving at parties and which includes an ingredient that is commonly associated with Kentucky: bourbon. It sounded like a crazy idea at first, but I was inspired by the recipes for bourbon balls and bourbon-laced pecan pie that kept popping up in my searches for classic Derby Party desserts. The final result: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars.
Man these are good! I just made these Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars for the first time a couple of days ago and they have quickly become my new favorite dessert. They are so easy to make and so insanely rich and delicious. And the best part: everyone will love these, not just those with restricted diets due to specific food allergies.
The recipe is enough to make either 9 2″x 2″ bars or 36 bite-size treats–perfect for serving at your Derby party (if you’re able to muster up the strength to share). And don’t worry, these can easily be made into a kid-friendly dessert by omitting the bourbon and subbing with water instead.
I hope you enjoy! And I hope everyone has a great Derby Day!
- ~~For the crust layer:
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. vanilla
- 2 Tbs. coconut oil
- 6 Medjool dates, pitted and cut
- ~~For the filling layer:
- 12 Medjool dates, pitted and cut
- 2 Tbs. filtered water
- 1-2 Tbs. Kentucky bourbon (such as Woodford Reserve or Wild Turkey)*
- 1 Tbs. raw cacao powder
- ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- For the bottom crust layer: In a food processor, combine the almonds and shredded coconut until the almonds are completely broken down. Add the salt, vanilla, coconut oil and dates and process again until fully combined and the mixture sticks together.
- Line a 6″x6″ square container with parchment paper. Press the crust mixture firmly down into the container using your hands. Place the crust into the freezer while you’re making the filling.
- Rinse out the food processor.
- For the filling layer: place all of the ingredients (except for the pecans) into your food processor and process untill a liquid paste is formed. You may have to scrape down the sides with a spatula to get it all incorporated. The paste should be thick, but feel free to add more liquid if your paste is so thick that it won’t combine.
- Using a spatula, add the filling layer on top of the crust layer and smooth it out with a spatula. Sprinkle the pecans on top and press them into the date filling using your fingers. Place the container back into the freezer and allow them to harden for at least 30 minutes.
- After allowing the mixture to harden, remove the container from the freezer and cut into bars or bites using a knife. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.
- Serve straight from the fridge when ready and enjoy!
Inspired by this recipe.