Crunchy-Chewy Caramel Pecan Bars From Malcolm Livingston

December 20, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • makes 1 quarter-sheet pan of bars
Author Notes

I absolutely love pecans and caramel together. I love the texture and eating experience of crunchy pecans, mashed with the crust and gooey caramel. Agar, which is made from seaweed, really helps in this recipe. Due to agar being a gelling agent, it will aid in keeping the caramel stable, but be soft and chewy at room temperature. It’s a few steps to this recipe but the result is a satisfying crun-chewy treat. I have yet to try, but I imagine dipping the bars into tempered chocolate would make a delicious candy bar! Let me know if you try it. —Food52

What You'll Need
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Crunchy-Chewy Caramel Pecan Bars From Malcolm Livingston
  • Shortbread Layer
  • 150 grams vegan butter (such as earth balance)
  • 95 grams coconut sugar
  • 90 grams sorghum flour
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 1/2 grams (1 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
  • 50 grams aquafaba
  • 250 grams gluten-free flour (such as Bob's Red Mill 1:1 or King Arthur Flour's Cup-for-Cup)
  • Caramel-Pecan Layer
  • 248 grams coconut sugar
  • 173 grams agave nectar
  • 45 grams plain oat milk
  • 45 grams vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 68 grams water
  • 68 grams cornstarch
  • 1 1/8 grams agar agar
  • 12 grams (3 teaspoons) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 350 grams chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a mixing bowl fitted with paddle attachment, cream the non dairy butter with the coconut sugar for 6 mins
  3. Mix cinnamon, sea salt, gluten free flour, and sorghum flour together with a whisk.
  4. Roll the dough by hand to a thickness of about ⅛ inch. Cut the dough to the size of a quarter sheet tray. Freeze the dough then dock, bake with parchment sheet on top of dough and place a sheet pan on top.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the top sheet pan and bake for a final 5 minutes.
  6. Cool and reserve while you make the caramel.
  7. In a bowl, whisk the coconut sugar and cornstarch together. In a separate bowl, whisk together water and agar powder, and allow to hydrate for about 2 minutes. In another bowl, whisk together oat milk, vanilla extract, and agave syrup.
  8. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the agar and water and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add about half of the agave mixture to the pan. Whisk and allow to come to a boil, then add the remainder of the mixture. (Agar hydrates at 212°F, so bringing the agar to a simmer and adding more liquid to reboil ensures that we will hydrate the agar sufficiently.)
  9. Turn the heat down to medium. Next, whisk in the butter, followed by the coconut sugar mixture. Once the butter has melted, use a silicone spatula to scrape the sides of the pot and bring the caramel to a temperature of 230°F. Once temperature is achieved, take the mixture off the heat. Season the caramel with sea salt, then add the chopped pecans. Stir to fully coat and combine the nuts with caramel.
  10. Transfer the nut caramel to the prepared baked crust, smoothing out into on even layer with a silicone spatula. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes; rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes, checking on it after 5 minutes.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature. Release the pecan bars from the tray and portion into 2x2-inch squares or as desired.

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