Although my neighbors have become accustomed to my ringing their doorbells to borrow the odd ingredient, then returning a few hours later with a container of the finished recipe as a thank-you, when I informed my neighbor that I was going to use the can of white beans she lent me to make Maple Pecan Blondies, she was justifiably skeptical.
Beans? In blondies? Don’t hang up the phone!
Less than 10 minutes after I’d dropped off the chewy pecan blondies in all their maple-frosted glory, my neighbor texted to say that they were wonderful.
She even shared them with her daughter and husband, both of whom went in for seconds and never guessed the secret ingredient.
Other sneaky bean blondie approvers: the gals at my book club (none guessed the secret ingredient) and even Ben, who has eaten every dessert I’ve baked since the day these Zucchini Brownies came to life with a tangible level of skepticism.
^^To be clear, he loves those brownies. And these Sweet Potato Brownies. He’s a purist and can’t quite accept that a dessert can contain such a healthy ingredient AND taste good at the same time.
I, however, am a big believer in sneaking in wholesome ingredients wherever I can. If you are too, these Maple Pecan Blondies are for you!
What is the Difference Between a Brownie and a Blondie?
- Blondies and brownies share many similar ingredients, but there are major differences between the two.
- Blondies are vanilla-based and have a pale color while brownies are chocolate-based and have a darker color.
About These Maple Pecan Blondies
Today’s pecan blondies (or pecan blondie brownies if you prefer that name) are not my first adventure in baking blondie brownies with beans.
This ooey-gooey skillet Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie is essentially a giant blondie and is made with chickpeas. It’s become a reader favorite, especially amongst those of you who share my secret delight in tempting your husbands, kids, and friends to guess your healthy baking secrets.
This is an ultra-chewy blondie recipe that’s rich and densely fudgy like a brownie, minus the chocolate, plus a fall and winter holiday flair. The pecan blondies taste incredibly rich, yet are naturally sweetened, vegan, and gluten free.
Pure maple syrup and coconut sugar do the sweetening (you can swap brown sugar for coconut sugar if you like), and thanks to the moisture and structure the beans provide, just two tablespoons of coconut oil are all you need to make these blondies taste as decadent as if they were made with butter.
The batter comes together entirely in the food processor, and if you hustle, you can have a pan of these babies in the oven less than 20 minutes from now.
A word on the maple frosting: it is heavenly. While not required, I do think the frosting makes the pecan blondies extra special. It also ensures they pass the scrutiny of even the toughest of healthy dessert skeptics.
We are entering the the heart of the holiday baking season. If you are looking for a way to indulge a little more wholesomely without missing a morsel, these Maple Pecan Blondies are an ideal option.
I also love the idea of bringing a pan of these chewy pecan blondies to a Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving celebration. They are magnificently easier to make than a pie yet still display that from-scratch caring and comfort that we seek in our holiday meals.
Plus, you can play a round of “guess the secret ingredient” at the table.
If you do decide to give these a try, I’d love to know how it goes and if your friends are as stumped as mine were too!
Recommended Tools for Making Maple Pecan Blondies
Maple Pecan Blondies
For the Blondies:
- 3/4 cups rolled oats gluten free if needed
- 1 can white beans (15 ounces) such as cannellini, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
- 2 tablespoons melted cooled coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon maple extract optional but delicious; it will intensify the maple flavor
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar or light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup pecan halves toasted and roughly chopped, plus additional for sprinkling on top
For the Maple Glaze:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon milk any kind you like
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on two sides like handles, then lightly coat the paper with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse the oats until well ground. Add the white beans, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and maple extract and process until very smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the maple syrup, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl a few times. It may take a few minutes. Add the pecans and pulse briefly to combine.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and, with an offset spatula or spoon, smooth the top. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the top lightly cracks and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- While the bars bake, prepare the glaze: Melt the coconut oil in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in the powdered sugar, maple syrup, milk, and cinnamon until smooth. Drizzle over the warm bars, smooth the top, then sprinkle with additional pecans as desired. Let the bars cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely. Lift from the pan with the parchment paper, slice, and enjoy!
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