Dairy Free,  Dessert,  Holiday,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

Holiday Cookie Week #2: Romance Cookie Bars (Pecan Pie Bars)

I actually enjoyed my Monday this week. Does that make me a total weirdo?

It was mostly because I had a jam-packed weekend with back to back company on top of some blog planning and recipe testing so I was in the kitchen even more than usual. We’re talking sun up to sun down, and the days are at their longest here so that’s a long time.

It’s not that there aren’t plenty of people around to help with things, there are, but you know what they say about too many cooks and soup. I need to get better at it, but I don’t always work cohesively with others #ControlFreak. Well, it’s that, and then it’s also the fact that I’m usually working on things that would be more work to try to explain to someone else what my crazy mind is thinking than to just do it myself. You know what I mean?

In other news, certain members of my family, who shall be nameless, have decided to start a new and healthier eating plan right in the midst of my holiday bakeathon (not sure how well this plan was thought through)! Therefore, I’ve been doing what I can to rein in my holiday treats and crank out the healthy options which is adding to my mental jumble but this is what I do and at the end of the day what keeps me sane…..or whatever word applies to my personal semblance of sanity.

The bottom line is that I have made so much food this last weekend it’s ridiculous, so I really enjoyed having a plain old mundane Monday to catch back up with things. I’m now in full planning mode for my gingerbread house but I think I’m going to try something new this year. I typically end up trying to get it all done in one or, in recent years making it all from scratch, two days. The problem is that I’m always feeling rushed to finish and I never get it all done. That’s why this year I’m going to try doing it in small pieces each day for as long as it takes so that I can have plenty of time to get it like I want. Here’s to hoping this plan works out and doesn’t go south on me (like so many of my so-called “brilliant” plans usually do).

Okay, but it’s day two of my lovely cookie week and you’re probably all curious what these are. I’m sharing another family favorite recipe with you guys. So, technically these are cookie bars and not just cookies, but I figured it was close enough to qualify for the list and they are so good that I just had to share. They fit onto a cookie tray and that’s what matters right?

My mom used to make these multiple times every year but I specifically remember her making them for an annual couples Christmas party with friends from the church I grew up attending in TN. Her and Dad went to it every year and also every year these bars were requested by many. The recipe is from a cookbook from the same church and was called Romance Cookies, so that’s what they’ve always been called in my family.

I’m not sure if they are so named because they can spark romantic feelings between people eating them or because you fall in love with the cookie bars themselves with every bite. Either way, this recipe is a keeper. I mean, it’s stayed around for at least my entire lifetime so that should say something about how memorable it is. It’s basically like a pecan pie with coconut, on a buttery shortbread base, in the form of a bar. What’s not to love about that?

Hope you guys are enjoying December as much as I am and taking time to celebrate what the season is truly about, God’s perfect gift!

Romance Cookie Bars (Pecan Pie Bars)

Pecan pies are a classic during the holidays, but have you ever imagined what they'd be like in a cookie bars form? These "Romance cookie bars" are a timeless family favorite.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 24 bars


Bottem Layer:

  • 1 cup 2 sticks Miyoko's "butter" (or any dairy free butter), cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Top Layer:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or organic cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or favorite nut
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • powdered sugar for dusting top


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and grease a 13x9 inch pan with butter. Beat butter until creamed then add sugar, salt, and flour and mix well. Press dough into prepared pan and bake for about 10 minutes until very lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and cool while you mix topping.
  2. Beat coconut milk, coconut oil, and brown sugar together well. Add vanilla, soda, starch, and flour and mix just until combined. Mix in pecans and coconut flakes and scrape the mixture gently over bottem layer and use a spatula to carefully smooth. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until it barely jiggles when pan is nudged. Remove and cool completely. Once cooled, then sprinkle top with powdered sugar. Cut into bars and serve.



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