Picnics, the 4th of July, and barbecues – there are just too many uses for these seasonal berry pecan bars. Unlike many other crumb bar recipes, this butter-less recipe uses a combination of oil and non-hydrogenated shortening to keep them dairy-free and soy-free.
A 50/50 blend with whole wheat flour is used in the crust and the fruity filling is a fresh combination of strawberries and blueberries, giving these pecan bars a little, dare I say, nutrition. Blueberries are packed with “superfood” antioxidants. They are noted as good for your eyes and memory, and are linked in studies to potential cancer prevention. Strawberries have a hefty dose of vitamin C and also fiber. The pecans are a good source of Vitamin E, and may even be linked to protecting the nervous system.
Nonetheless, pecans can be a little pricey. If you find your budget a little tight, another nut, or a blend of raw nuts, can be used instead.
This recipe with photo for berry pecan bars was shared with us by Fresh from Florida Kids.
Special Diet Notes: Summer Berry Pecan Bars
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian.
For egg-free and vegan berry pecan bars, swap in a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed/flax meal combined with 2 tablespoons water to make a slurry) or Ener-G egg replacer. Both tend to work nicely in binding crumb crusts.
- 1 cup pecans, chopped, divided
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup cold dairy-free non-hydrogenated margarine or palm shortening, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg (see post above for egg-free suggestions)
- 2 tablespoons canola, grapeseed or rice bran oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups Florida strawberries, hulled and diced, divided
- 2½ cups Florida blueberries, divided
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine ¾ cup of the chopped pecans, both flours, sugar and salt in your food processor. Pulse together until the nuts are finely ground. Add the margarine or shortening to the mixture and pulse until well incorporated.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg, oil, vanilla and almond extracts together.
- With the motor running on food processor, add the egg mixture to the pecan mixture. Continue to pulse until it begins to clump, 30 to 45 seconds.
- Measure out ½ cup of the mixture and combine in a separate bowl with the remaining ¼ cup chopped pecans (for the topping).
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
- Combine 2 cups strawberries, 2 cups blueberries, orange juice, sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened (about 4 to 5 minutes). Stir in the remaining fresh fruit and vanilla.
- Transfer the bottom crust mixture to your prepared baking dish. Spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom. Evenly spread the fruit filling over the crust, and sprinkle the top of the fruit filling with the reserved pecan topping mixture.
- Bake the bars for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake until the crust and topping are lightly brown, about 25 to 30 minutes more. Let the bars cool completely before cutting. Serve with fresh fruit.
Can I substitute almond flour for the wheat (& I’ll an GF flour for the regular,) or should I sub with some other GF flour?
I would usually swap in oat flour. The crust already has quite a bit of nuts in it, and the almond flour may not work well. It might though, hard to say without testing that one.
I love pecans. They’re probably my favorite nut (must be the sweetness). Yes, they are a little pricey, but I buy in bulk when they’re on sale at my natural food market. These bars of yours look amazing and also fairly easy to switch to a gluten-free version. I have a load of strawberries AND blueberries right now (visit to the farmer’s market yesterday), so I may give these a gluten-free makeover. Thanks for the inspiration!
Don’t you love berry season Melissa?! I’ve got a berry crisp that we finished here for my next book – we LOVED testing that one 🙂 Yes, the bars are very versatile for GF. I often just use GF oat flour as the oat flavor is so amazing in these types of bars and GF oats seem to work well here.