Gluten free pecan squares

Gluten free pecan squares

Bringing you another super recipe that I think you’re going to love! I discovered the recipe for these gorgeous pecan squares over on once upon a chef’s website. These gluten free pecan squares have a lovely buttery shortbread base; however, the star of the show has to be the deliciously moreish, caramel pecan topping.

These very yummy, nutty squares do take a little time to prepare, but don’t be put off by this, as the recipe itself is really straightforward. So far, I’ve made them twice. The first time, I chopped the pecans by hand, but for my second attempt I blitzed them in my mini chopper. I have to say, for even sized pieces, it is better to chop by hand. However, if you are short of time, the food processor/mini chopper is the way to go. Just don’t get carried away, as they can quickly turn to dusty crumbs.  

I think these pecan squares would make the most perfect treat for friends and family when they drop by. Offer them up on a fancy plate or let them delve into a cake tin and grab one. And if you can bear it, maybe let them take a couple of squares home with them too!

Ingredients (16 nice size squares) 

For the base
94g gluten free plain flour 
31g *cornflour
58g icing sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon xanthan gum (no need to add if your gf flour already contains it)
113g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the topping
170g unsalted butter
161g light muscovado sugar (soft, light brown sugar would also work) 
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon *vanilla extract
Generous pinch of salt
2 tablespoons double cream
300g coarsely chopped *pecans (chop by hand or in a food processor, but don’t blitz too finely) 

Flatlay of ingredients needed for gluten free pecan squares


Lightly butter and fully line a 9-inch square baking tray with greaseproof paper. Allow a little paper to come up past the sides of the tin; you’ll find this handy to grab onto when it’s time to remove the traybake.

To make the base: Add the gluten free flour, xanthan gum, cornflour, icing sugar to a large mixing bowl. Give it a quick stir with a spoon or whisk to combine the ingredients. 

Gluten free flour, xanthan gum, cornflour and icing sugar in a stainless steel bowl

Add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles coarse, quite chunky breadcrumbs (the original recipe suggests doing this in a food processor).

Gluten free shortbread base in a stainless steel bowl

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press firmly with your fingers to form an even layer (I found it best to keep dipping the tips of my fingers into gluten free flour to prevent the mixture sticking to my hands).

Gluten free shortbread base pressed into a tin

Chill the base in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4/160C Fan.

Bake the base for about 17 minutes until the base is baked and set, but not browned. Don’t worry if the base doesn’t look too pretty, all will be well when you add the topping.

Gluten free shortbread base for pecan squares

Remove the base from the oven and set to one side. Leave the oven on. 

To make the topping: Place the butter, muscovado sugar, honey, vanilla extract and salt into a medium sized heavy bottomed pan and gently heat.

Butter, sugar, honey and vanilla extract in a pan

Stir until the sugar dissolves, then turn up the heat and boil gently for 3 minutes.

Melted butter, sugar, honey and vanilla extract in a pan

Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and chopped pecans.

Filling for gluten free pecan squares in a pan

Pour the mixture over the shortbread base and spread out evenly.

Pecan squares before being baked

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and caramel in colour.

Gluten free pecan squares after just coming out of the oven

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.

Gluten free pecan squares before being cut into squares

Using a large sharp knife cut into squares. 

Gluten free pecan squares

Recipe notes and suggestions: 

Store the pecan squares in an airtight container in a cool spot. They will be good to go for 2-3 days.

Whilst I’ve not attempted to freeze these pecan squares, Jenn from once upon a chef says that you can. This is how she advises you to do it: “After they are completely cooled, double-wrap them securely with aluminium foil or plastic freezer wrap with the layers separated by wax or parchment paper. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving”. Apparently they can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Thanks so much for checking out this recipe for gluten free pecan squares. Of course, full credit and thanks for the original recipe that I adapted to make gluten free, goes to Jenn Segal, over at once upon a chef.

For more traybake and cake recipes from me click here and don’t forget, please do give me a shout if you have any questions.

For now,
Liz x

*Check this product to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out.

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