Makeover Monday is back with a bang. Not only am I bringing you delicious low carb, gluten-free Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars, but I am taking some action to help fight hunger. There’s a giveaway for you too!
I am a very well-fed girl. I don’t mean I am over-fed, but I am fortunate to enjoy very good food in my life, food that provides both healthy sustenance and great pleasure. I am also very fortunate to be able to purchase the somewhat specialized ingredients I use create my low carb, gluten-free, healthy recipes. I suppose I don’t really think about this on a daily basis. It seems like a natural-born right to dine well, especially on feast holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. But I am struck by the fact that it is not a right, it is a privilege. I am privileged to be able to eat this well and this healthfully. And I am grateful for it.
I was asked to take part in a virtual Thanksgiving Potluck to raise awareness for Feeding America. We all know there is plenty of hunger in the world, but much of it is in our own backyard. It can be very easy to ignore when we are in our warm homes with our families, making delicious meals. Of course I said yes to the invitation, because who can say no to such a cause? And our coordinator, Erin of Dinners, Dishes and Desserts, managed to get Analon Cookware and Wüsthof Knives to donate prizes for a fantastic giveaway (details below).
But as I was writing this post, it struck me that it was all just so many words and no action on my part. I can talk to you about hunger in America and say we need to do something about it, but it’s meaningless if I am not doing something myself. I say I am grateful for being well-fed and healthy. Let me do something to show you how grateful I am.
For every individual person who leaves a comment on this blog post between now and midnight on November 25th, 2013, I will donate $1 to my local food bank (up to $300 total).
And please feel free to enter our giveaway while you’re at it! You could win a gorgeous 11 piece Nouvelle Copper set from Analon (I have one of these pans and it’s fabulous!) or a Wüsthof knives Classic 7-Piece Block Set.
Low Carb Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars for Makeover Monday
Now to my recipe. I don’t think I need to explain why I chose to make over this recipe. Who doesn’t love gooey pecan pie at Thanksgiving? It’s long been one of my favourite desserts, with or without a little chocolate. I’ve been working for a while to figure out how to make a gooey low carb filling. Let’s face it, our low carb sweeteners just don’t behave the way sugar does. And part of what makes traditional pecan pie so gooey is the corn syrup. It’s tricky to emulate that. But I found that if you create a caramel sauce with Swerve and some other sweeteners and use that in place of the corn syrup, you get a rich deep flavour and a gooier texture that is a lot like the real thing.
A few additional notes:
I know people will ask if it’s necessary to use xylitol and vegetable glycerin in addition to the Swerve Sweetener. Here’s the simple answer: no, it’s not necessary. However, you will get a much better caramel sauce with these combined sweeteners, since Swerve tends to re-crystallize after being heated like this. The vegetable glycerin was a little bit of an experiment for me, as I had read that it keeps things softer. It worked and my caramel was much less gritty after cooling. If you choose to make your caramel with just 1 cup Swerve and no xylitol or vegetable glycerin, your filling will likely get a bit gritty as it cools. It will still taste amazing, though!
I also know that people will ask if you can turn this into a full pecan pie. I think yes, you will be able to. You will probably need more pecans for the filling and you can use the pastry from my Coconut Cream Pie. Don’t bake the crust first, just pour your filling in. And watch those edges carefully as it bakes. If they are browning a lot, cover them with foil. The baking time may vary.
Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
Everybody loves pecan pie on Thanksgiving. Here is a low carb, gluten-free version of chocolate pecan pie bars. You don't have to get off track during the holidays!
- 3/4 cup Swerve Sweetener
- 1/4 cup xylitol (or more Swerve)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp vegetable glycerin (optional, but helps gooeyness)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 1/4 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup Swerve Sweetener
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp liquid stevia extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tbsp unsulphered molasses
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 oz 85 or 90% cacao chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup pecans, lightly toasted
- For the caramel sauce, combine Swerve, xylitol and water in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir until sweeteners dissolve and then allow to come to a boil. Boil until mixture darkens somewhat, about 9 to 11 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add cream and butter. Mixture may bubble vigorously. Stir in vegetable glycerin and vanilla extract and then quickly whisk in xanthan gum.
- Let mixture cool to lukewarm, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- While caramel is cooling, prepare the crust. Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Combine almond flour, butter, erythritol, xanthan gum, salt and stevia in a food processer. Pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Press mixture evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch square pan and bake 12 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325F.
- Whisk eggs, melted butter, molasses and salt into cooled caramel sauce.
- Sprinkle crust with chopped chocolate and toasted pecans. Pour filling over and bake about 20 minutes, until set and slightly puffed.
Serves 16. Each serving has 8 g of carbs and 2 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 6 g.
207 Calories; 19g Fat (82.4% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 50mg Cholesterol; 163mg Sodium.
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Check out all the other bloggers taking part in our Thanksgiving Potluck for Feeding America:
Erin from Texanerin Baking made Dulce de Leche Apple Streusel Bars
Caroline from Chocolate & Carrots made Sweet Potato Biscuits with Cranberry Jam
Katrina from In Katrina’s Kitchen made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
Christina from Dessert for Two made Mini Pumpkin Pies
Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction made Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Mini Cheesecakes
Tracey from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures made Butternut Squash, Apple and Potato Gratin with Cheddar Crumb Topping
Georgia from The Comfort of Cooking made Spiced Caramel-Apple Crumb Bars
Kate from Diethood made Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie
Gina from Running to the Kitchen made Green Beans with Cranberries, Bacon, & Goat Cheese
Carla from Carla’s Confections made Spinach Mashed Potatoes
Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food made Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
Liz from The Lemon Bowl made Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Rachel from Rachel Cooks made Brussels Sprouts Salad with Green Apples and Cranberries
Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake made Spinach Salad with Pears, Cranberries and Candied Pecans
Megan from Wanna Be A Country Cleaver made Roasted Potatoes with Bacon Parmesan Vinaigrette
Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic made Mini Apple Pies