Gluten-Free Pecan Pie Bars and No Good, Very Bad Super Storm


I meant to write about my recipe for pecan pie bars at the beginning of last week but I was punched down by a super-storm. We lost electric power for eight long days and nights. I lit candles and walked around with a flashlight. I ate pasta more times in a week than I usually do in three months (it’s easy to cook on a gas stove top). I drank hot chocolate with marshmallows every single day (yes, really). I found a quarter of a bag of leftover potato chips from my husband’s mid-October tailgate party at the Giants game – and I ate them all with a lot of red wine. I didn’t exercise. I made do.

And now ten days later, it’s as though I’ve been crawling out of a long, dark hole. Even though my lights came back on this past Tuesday afternoon, I still feel emotionally spent and physically exhausted from the eight days without power (and I was one of the lucky ones – I still have my house …….and my roof).

When the sheer delight of being able to turn on a light switch started to wear off, I went back to the kitchen and baked up a batch of these delectable treats for the weekend (and so I could take a picture for you). 

I’ve tasted a lot of pecan bars in my life. They inevitably show up on holiday cookie trays and picnic tables. But I’d never tasted one that I liked well enough to ask for the recipe. I decided to create my own. As I started looking through trusted cookbooks, it seemed that most recipes resulted in a variety of cookie-like bases topped with a thin, sweet layer of pecans. I was looking for something more– more like pecan pie in terms of taste and complexity, but with a simple cookie crust. And they had to be faster and easier to make. I set to work and created gluten-free pecan pie bars good enough to satisfy all the pecan pie lovers in my life. Try them for the upcoming holidays. They keep really well in the freezer and you’ll be able to have a great dessert that you can pull out at the last minute when friends and family stop by to visit.



These addictive pecan pie bars will become a much requested part of your baking repertoire. More substantial and flavorful than ordinary pecan bars, they’re faster and easier to make than pecan pie and perfect for dessert buffet tables, picnics, barbecues and afternoon snacks. To make a dairy-free version, I suggest using Earth Balance; it works well in the recipe.

1 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix*
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (or Earth Balance)

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Position rack in center of oven. Grease bottom of 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and generously dust with rice flour.
  2. Put flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, and xanthan gum in large bowl of electric mixer; mix to blend. Add butter and mix on low speed until crumbly. Gently press into bottom of baking pan (if you pack the dough too densely, the crust will be hard to get out of the pan. If you pack it too loosely, the crust will be a bit crumbly).
  3. Bake in center of oven for 10 minutes or until very light golden.

*Find my Brown Rice Flour Mix in the Guide to Flour Mix section of this blog.

Pecan Filling
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup unsalted butter (or Earth Balance)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

  1. Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in heavy saucepan over medium heat; stir frequently until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and quickly whisk into saucepan. Add vanilla and pecans; mix well. Pour onto partially baked crust.
  3. Bake in center of oven for about 25 minutes until center is set. Cool on a wire rack and then chill before cutting into bars. Cut into 16 squares (or triangles) and remove from baking pan. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Serve chilled or at room temperature. Best when eaten within four days of baking. Bars can be wrapped with plastic wrap and then with foil and stored in freezer for up to three weeks. Pecan Pie Bars freeze well.

 (c)2012 by Annalise Roberts


36 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Pecan Pie Bars and No Good, Very Bad Super Storm”

  1. Hi Annalise! These look FANTASTIC! Pecan pie is one of my favorites and I can’t wait to try these! So glad your power is back on and that you road out the storm ok. Thanks for sharing these! Have you made pumpkin bars much this Fall? 🙂

    1. hi there!
      So good to hear from you!
      You started the whole pumpkin bar thing, by the way! And I haven’t made them yet this fall because I’ve been testing a bunch of other recipes. But I’ll be making them next weekend to get the Thanksgiving holiday started off a little early.

      I hope you enjoy the pecan pie bars. They are really, really delicious. Even though I’ve only been making them for about a year, they’ve become a real stand by dessert or me, like my lemon squares.
      Have a great Thanksgiving!
      very best,

      1. hi!
        You are very welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed them. I really like eating them, too. And the best part is they don’t take long to make.
        Very best regards,

  2. All I can say is Thank you, thank you, thank you! Pecan pie is one of my favorite holiday treats…can’t wait to try them next week~ Keep on baking and making us all happy! You are awesome!

    1. hi!
      You are very welcome!
      Hope you and your family and friends enjoy them. And if you’re really a pecan lover you could make an extra batch and keep them in the freezer just for you for after the holiday. ;-))

      very best,

  3. Hi Annalise,
    So glad to hear your electricity is back on. I cant imagine 8 nights with no power. I think I would have gone to stay with family somewhere, like Texas.

    I buy about 50 pounds of pecans each winter and store them in my freezer to make good things and to simply eat. I plan to try your bars right away, and appreciate the tip to use Earth Balance. I need to add one more substitution because I don’t eat corn. I now make my pecan pie using maple syrup. Don’t you think that will work in the bar? I will let you know how it works for me. Sure hope you have a good source of pecans. There is nothing like really fresh pecans.

    1. hi Anne!
      I think you should be fine with the maple syrup, but not 100%sure only because I haven’t done it myself. Please let me know how you make out. You sure are lucky to have fresh pecans. I like to think mine are fresh, but nothing what you can get down south. Can’t wait to hear back!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
      very best,

  4. Hi! I am having trouble finding your Guide to Flour Mix Section for your Brown Rice Flour mix. Could you point me in the right direction? I’m recently GF and Pecan Pie is my FAV at this time of year so needless to say I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe:) Thx, Laura

  5. Hi Annalise~
    Thanks so much for this recipe! My husband and I can’t wait to try them (and he’s not even gluten free)!

    I have a couple questions for you. My family and I love your Crumb Cake recipe for Christmas morning, and I always make it a day ahead (or earlier and freeze it). I’m wondering for this year if the Crumb Cake recipe from “Gluten Free Baking Classics” is adaptable for pans other than the tube pan. I was wondering what you thought about dividing it up between some smaller pans, say 8 or 9 inch round cake pans, mini loaf pans, or a couple of 5×7 pans. It would be easier to make smaller ones and have one in the freezer. I am curious to hear if you think it would work and what pans might be proportional for the recipe.

    Also, my son (celiac) has been asking me about making some GF pepperoni bread. We have so much luck with your Focaccia/Rustic Flat Bread, that I was thinking of trying to incorporate some pieces of pepperoni into it. I tried to find a pepperoni bread recipe in your archives, but if it’s there I missed it. Would love your insight.

    Thanks so much, Annalise! So glad you made it through the storm OK!
    Mary Buckley

    1. hi there!
      Good to hear from you!

      Yes you can switch around the pans- BUT you have to be careful with the bake time and the shapes. It is a very heavy batter and I would stay away from the 9 inch without the tube in the middle. I have never put it into an 8 inch round, I tried an 8- inch square, which is closer space wise to the 9-inch wit the hole in the middle). I can’t remember the bake time because I decided I liked the round shape better (no corners, which seemed to get a little dry), so I left it out of the book.

      5 x 7 should work, but I can’t tell you how much time and I’m worried that if you open the oven too many times, you may sacrifice a good rise. I will say that I’d estimate it will take at least 35 minutes, and if I were testing, that is where I’d start. Keep the pans several inches apart.

      Mini loaf would be cute and I think I’d test (maybe just look and test if you should) after 30 minutes. It”s tricky but not impossible to get a feel for when it’s done. And remember, They’ll start to smell done. Please let me know how you make out!!

      What does your pepperoni bread look like and what is texture please? Is it rolled like the ones I’ve seen at parties? And is it more like bread or bread-y pizza dough?

      very best,

      PS. Thank you! Yes that storm was a big deal here where I live. Glad it’s over, too!

  6. Hello again, Annalise. I finally got around to trying this and OMG!! It is so good. My celiac daughter still comes home for Sunday dinner, and the three of us devoured half the pars in one sitting—after a huge dinner. Thanks so much.

    1. hi!
      So happy to hear you enjoyed them! I’m glad that I’m not the only one who finds it a bit hard to stop from eating too many.
      Hope you have wonderful holiday season.
      very best,

  7. Hi Annalise!
    It’s me again. I asked about pepperoni bread and in your reply you were wondering about texture, etc. of the kind I make. In short, I used to make the rolled kind like you see at parties (made from purchased pizza dough), but it’s been years since I’ve made anything like that. I figured that was out the window since GF bread dough (sticky) is so different from wheat dough (easy to handle). We are open to any sort of baked pepperoni & bread combination! I know there are probably recipes online, but I didn’t even look. Your recipes are consistently the best so that’s why I thought I’d ask you. Any ideas?

    That storm really was an extreme force of nature. I grew up in NJ and have family and friends in the area (fortunately all OK). Am so sad to see what happened to parts of the NJ shore.
    Again, glad you made it through. Thanks for the advice and for the posts!
    Mary Buckley

    1. hi!
      I don’t have a pizza crust that you can shape- at least right now. So, as a quick-top-of-mind solution, I’m thinking you could make my cinnamon roll dough with only 1 tablespoon of sugar (instead of 1/4). A lot of people have successfully used it for savory dishes. In fact, I’l send you an email with a picture of one.

      Let me know if you give it a try!
      very best,

  8. Francesca Zahner

    I am so looking forward to making these! If I wanted to make it egg-free, do you think that’s possible? Well obviously possible, but how? I don’t want to use egg replacer. I know vegan recipes use applesauce, but I don’t know why. Any ideas?
    I look forward to making just the way you have it, but I have a friend who can’t do dairy or eggs and was thinking to modify it for her to try. Thanks for your thoughts! And thanks for info in other postvon sweet sorghum vs sweet rice. All helpful and great info!

    1. hi!
      I haven’t made this recipe without eggs (although I’ve made it dairy free several times). But if I were to try it, I’d probably test it first with a flax egg: 1 tablespoon flax meal (ground flax seeds) and 3 tablespoons warm water. Stir it until well combined and let it sit for about 15 minutes to set up. Please let me know how you make out and if you have any other questions.

      very best,

  9. Francesca Zahner

    Never heard of that! Thanks. I’ll try it. But first I’ll try with the eggs for myself!

    1. Good!! That way you’ll know what the difference is when you try the flax eggs and you’ll be better able to make adjustments.

    1. hi!
      If you mean use 1 cup of GF cake mix for the 1 cup Brown Rice flour Mix and the two sugars and the xanthan gum, I’d have to say probably not. Most cake mixes have baking powder and salt, in addition to who knows how much sugar, xanthan gum and other flavors. The proportions of these other ingredients would change the character of the crust, especially because the recipe is supposed to make more of a cookie crust.

      At the very least, I’d try a plain all purpose GF flour mix before a GF cake mix.

      Very best regards,

    1. hi!
      I hope you enjoy them! It’s an easy recipe, people seem to really like ’em, and they’re delicious! (And you can make them dairy free if you need to).

      Very best,

  10. Made these a couple times and they were fantastic! Hubby, who is not a sweets guy, asks me to make them. Definite must in the rotation here 🙂 Thanks Annalise!

    1. Hi Susan,
      You are very welcome! I’m happy to hear that you and your husband are enjoying this recipe. It has actually become one of my favorite “quick” dessert recipes, along with my brownies and lemon squares.

      Very best regards,

  11. I have all your books and you are a Godsend. Thanks for reducing the learning curve! Gluten free baking is relearning everything you thought you knew about baking. I have all your books and you’re my favorite gluten free cookbook author by far. Thank you!

    1. Hi Joy,

      Thank you for your very kind words. I’m happy to hear you are enjoying my recipes!
      I hope you have a very happy and delicious holiday season!

      Very best,

  12. I think I added a tablespoon too much butter on the crust, now the crust’s not sticking together. I’m baking it longer then letting it cool completely & hopefully there will be a cookie crust at the bottom.

  13. And so it goes with the learning curve of gluten free baking… just when you think you have it you really don’t – the slightest mistake will mess you up!

    1. If you’d like, I can help you figure out what went wrong. Let me know, and I’ll contact you by email. This recipe is really good -and I’d like you to be able to make it— and have it turn out in such a way that it will make you happy.

      Very best,

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