Coconut pecan shortbread cookie bars are perfect for taking to a family reunion, summer picnic, or birthday party, especially if you are worrying about accommodating anyone with food allergies. These particular cookie bars can easily be made egg, dairy, soy, and peanut free!
We recently had a small family reunion and I was assigned to bring the dessert. I needed something easy, as I needed to make enough for a larger group. But I also needed something that would take into account a guest that could not have anything containing eggs, dairy, soy, or peanuts. I’ve made these cookie bars before, and thought they would make the perfect treat, as the modifications needed would be relatively simple. The most difficult part was figuring out how to make the shortbread base work, as dairy ruled out the use of butter, and soy ruled out the use of most margarines and vegetable shortenings. I finally found a brand of organic vegetable shortening made with palm oil—phew!
Normally I would use a couple of eggs as a binder in the coconut pecan topping, but easily replaced them with Ener-G Egg Replacer.
These cookie bars are delicious, whether they’re made with eggs and butter, or their allergen-free alternatives. I especially love how quick and easy they are to make for a crowd! Buttery shortbread topped with a sweet coconut pecan topping . . . how can you go wrong?
Coconut Pecan Shortbread Cookie Bars
Makes approximately 4 dozen bars
For the shortbread base:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
8 ounces soy-free vegetable shortening
For the topping:
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Make the shortbread base: Combine the flour and brown sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly. Press the mixture into an ungreased 13-inch x 18-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
3. Make the coconut pecan topping: While the shortbread base is cooling, beat the Ener-G Egg Replacer, brown sugar, vanilla, baking powder, and water together in a medium bowl until blended. Then stir in the coconut and pecans. Spread over the shortbread base and return to the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the bars cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars.
– If soy is not a problem: You can replace the soy-free vegetable shortening in the shortbread base with 8 ounces of regular shortening or margarine.
– If dairy is not a problem: You can replace the soy-free vegetable shortening in the shortbread base with 1 cup of cold butter, cut into cubes.
– If eggs are not a problem, you can replace the Ener-G Egg Replacer and 1/4 cup of warm water in the topping with 2 large eggs.
– Chocolate chip version: For the topping, use only 1 cup of finely chopped pecans and add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. If dairy is a problem, make sure that the chocolate chips you use are lactose free!
La Fuji Mama
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