For the shortbread layer
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
For the caramelized pecan layer
2 cups raw pecan pieces
1/2 cup maple syrup
For the chocolate layer
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (vegan if desired)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 9×9 inch square pan with parchment paper.
- Make the shortbread: In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and kosher salt. Add the oil and maple syrup and stir it together with a spoon, then when it starts to come together use your hands to knead it into a dough. Use your fingers to squeeze out any lumps in the coconut oil and knead until it comes together into a playdough-like texture. Press the dough into the pan. Keep pressing the dough into an even layer that covers the entire pan; it might take a while; you can use a small glass to help roll it out (we used a shot glass). Bake about 15 minutes until lightly browned on the edges. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes until it reaches room temperature.
- Meanwhile, make the caramelized pecan butter: In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the maple syrup and continue to stir. It will bubble immediately and start to cook down. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the liquid is totally cooked out and the maple syrup starts to darken. Transfer the caramelized nuts to a food processor. Process for 7 to 10 minutes, stopping and scraping the bowl as necessary, until the pecans form into a thick and creamy caramelized pecan butter. It takes a while to come together, so just keep processing. Then, spread the pecan butter onto the cooled shortbread crust using a spatula. Spread it into an even layer; it doesn’t have to be perfect, but take care to make it as even as possible.
- Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a glass measuring cup. Microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each time, until melted (it took us about 3 20-second bursts). Be very careful not to overheat the chocolate! Pour the chocolate over the top of the bars and refrigerate until the chocolate layer is hardened, about 1 hour.
- When ready to serve, let the bars stand at room temperature for a few minutes so the chocolate comes to room temperature. Cut into 1 inch by 2.25-inch rectangles, to make 36 rectangles in all. Eat immediately or refrigerate until serving.