Raw Vanilla Pecan Dream Bars with Cashew Icing

Raw Vanilla Pecan Dream Bars with Cashew Icing

If vanilla cake and pecan pie had a baby, these would be the product. Imagine a moist, gooey bar that tastes like a vanilla buttery cake, but the texture of a gooey pecan pie and is all topped off with a creamy cashew icing. These are your way to break into Spring.

My daughter repeatedly kept saying "Mommy, these are sooo delicious!" over and over. I knew they were a winner. These bars are raw, gooey, moist, dense and just 8 ingredients. They are full of vanilla flavor, hints of caramel from coconut sugar and a butteriness from pecans. The cashews make them taste super creamy. I also add an odd ingredient, apple juice. It helps to balance out the flavors with a little acidity and aid in the vanilla cake-ish flavor.

They are more firm than they appear in the photos, as these sat out awhile and they soften some at room temperature. Keep them in the freezer for a perfect, firm right-out-of-the-freezer bite full of all your gooey vanilla dreams.

Coconut sugar. How I love you. It is my favorite sweetener that I use. It tastes just like caramel and is not heavily processed like regular sugar and is much lower on the glycemic index than cane sugar and even maple syrup. I love maple syrup and use it a lot in my baking, but I've actually started using coconut sugar more. It just makes everything taste better. Obviously, it is still sugar, so I would never call a sugar healthy, unless it is fruit, but it is one of the better ones to use out there.

There is coconut sugar in the bars and then some sprinkled on top of the icing and it's truly delicious.

I created these bars to feature Sprout Living's "Vanilla Lucuma" Epic protein powder. They recently asked me to review some of their new and improved flavors and I couldn't resist trying them. I have used their products in the past and know them to be top notch among other plant-based proteins/products out there.

Most people think of smoothies when it comes to protein powders, but I wanted to share something a bit more exciting, so these vegan Raw Vanilla Pecan Dream Bars were born. As far as smoothies go, I have to be honest, I stopped drinking smoothies many months ago and don't use protein powders the way I did in the past (everyday). I find I feel better and more satiated with eating/chewing my breakfast, versus drinking it. I will only drink them once in a blue moon now. However, I know smoothies are HUGE for many of you out there and a staple in your diet! Since so many ask me about a good plant-based protein powder, I was thrilled to try out their newest products and share a giveaway for some of them to one of you lucky readers! I'll just be using their products in food versus smoothies for me personally.

All of their products are some of the cleanest you can find, which is why I support them. Not to mention, they are the best tasting plant protein powder I have ever tried in my life. The "Vanilla Lucuma" is my absolute favorite and it tastes and smells delicious straight out of the bag, seriously. I've mentioned this a few times before on the blog. This is the same flavor I used for my Snickerdoodle Cookie Protein Bites.

So many protein powders on the market have so many weird ingredients, additives, preservatives or chemicals. Well, not their products. The ingredients in the Vanilla Lucuma are: Sprouted Brown Rice, Yellow Pea, Sacha Inchi, Cranberry Seed, Lucuma Fruit, Ceylon Cinnamon, Ginger Root, Vanilla Bean, Heirloom Red Banana, Jerusalem Artichoke, Baobab Fruit, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Stevia Leaf. Impressive.

One of the changes they made to their original mixes is that they added stevia. Now, if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know I'm not a fan of it. I've had bad experiences before with it and loathed the aftertaste, but that was because I had used the highly processed powdered white stevia sold in the stores that tastes like pure death. After speaking to the owner, they are not using that awful stuff, instead they source a very high quality organic stevia extract that  isn't even the same stuff in stores. This explains why the taste of this protein powder is exceptional and no weird aftertaste. I honestly couldn't get over the taste. It has a wonderful cinnamon and vanilla flavor and perfectly sweet. From the owner: "Our stevia undergoes a more gentle (no harsh solvents or other chemicals) process ensuring a very clean taste."

All of their protein powders contain between 19-26 grams of protein per serving. I personally don't believe in counting calories, macronutrients or obsessing over protein amounts, as it takes away the focus of eating healthy whole foods, but I know people have concern about plant protein out there. So, if you are always pressed for time and drink a lot of smoothies and want to throw in a protein powder, make sure it's a good one! I would rather fuel my body with brown rice protein than whey protein when given the choice. And all of their products come from whole foods, not chemicals.

According to Sprout Living, their products are:  *Raw * Vegan *Organic *Non-gmo *Gluten-free

I know some of my readers do not use protein powders or supplements, so I'm providing an alternative so you can still make the recipe. It is important to me that all of my readers can enjoy my recipes! I'd love to hear your feedback below after you make these Raw Vanilla Pecan Dream Bars with Cashew Icing! You can also tag me on Instagram at #thevegan8 so I can see yo fancy creation!

Yields 8

Raw Vanilla Pecan Dream Bars with Cashew Icing

Dreamy flavors of vanilla cake and pecan pie come together in a dense, fudgy dream bar that is sweet, moist and will remind you a little of both cake and pie. These are topped with a wonderful creamy cashew icing that really is "icing on the cake"!

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5 based on 1 review(s)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (100g) certified gluten-free rolled oats, not instant
  • 1/2 cup (56g) pecan pieces
  • 1/4 cup (40g) coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Sprout Living "Vanilla Lucuma" Epic protein powder (SEE NOTE below to sub)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (64g) super smooth cashew butter, slightly warmed to a soft liquid if it is hard or from the fridge
  • 2 tablespoons (40g) pure maple syrup or agave
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) vanilla extract
  • Cashew Icing
  • 3 tablespoons (48g) cashew butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (30g pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) vanilla extract
  • Extra coconut sugar to sprinkle on top
  • Note: I know some of my readers do not use protein powders, so if you still want to make the recipe, you can leave it out and just add 2-3 more tablespoons of oats and an extra tablespoon of coconut sugar (since the protein powder provides sweetness). The flavor will change slightly and be less vanilla-ish, but still delicious.

Instructions

  1. Add the oats to a food processor and process until a fine flour forms. Add the pecans and coconut sugar and process again until it is finely ground.
  2. Add the protein powder and salt and process once more until just blended.
  3. Add the cashew butter, syrup, apple juice and vanilla extract to a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients into the food processor. Process until it all comes together in one large bowl and is chunky. As soon as it does this, stop so it doesn't turn into a butter.
  4. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with plastic wrap (or use a smaller one for thicker bars) and press the mixture out evenly to the corners. Flatten with a spatula.
  5. Combine the cashew icing ingredients and spread out over the bars. Sprinkle coconut sugar over the top. Place in the freezer until firm and set. Cut into 8 bars. Keep them stored in the freezer or fridge. The icing will be softer in the fridge and I prefer the texture from the freezer. If you leave them out for an extended period of time at room temperature, they will soften more.

Notes

Raw, vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
If you don't like or can't have cashews, then I would try subbing a creamy almond butter. I would probably use 3 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup since almond butter tends to be oilier than cashew butter.
Nutrition per bar (based on 8) without icing: 194.75 calories, 10 g fat, 5.78 g protein, 21.5 carbs, 10.625 g sugars
With icing: 240.78 calories, 13 g fat, 6.9 g protein, 25.7 carbs, 13.5 g sugars

7.6.4
1794

The wonderful people at Sprout Living are giving away 4 prizes to one of my awesome readers!

  • 1 16 oz bag "Vanilla Lucuma" protein powder
  • 1 16 oz bag "Chocolate Maca" protein powder
  • 1 Sprout Living Shaker Cup
  • 1 Sprout Living Tote Bag

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED

1. Fill out the Rafflecopter giveaway below. You must be a US resident to qualify

2. You must be a subscriber of this blog. All entries will be verified. Contest ends April 5, 2015 12:00 pm CST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

86 Comments

  1. Those bars look dreamy and totally delicious. I love the cashew icing!!
  2. My favourite protein flavour is Vega Vanilla or Chai Vanilla. I Haven't really tried a lot of others because I am so happy with that one, but this kind in today's recipe looks awesome. As does this dessert! I am always inspired by your vegan creations! Thanks for sharing:)
  3. Yum this recipe looks amazing! I keep hearing about lucuma powder and how yummy it is but I keep forgetting to pick some up! Now since my favorite flavor of protein powder is definitely vanilla, the Vanilla Lucuma protein powder is probably a great bet!
  4. I never use protein powders, but this recipe has me rethinking that. It looks amazing!
  5. Hi Brandi! Thanks for another great recipe! My favorite protein powder flavor has been vanilla.
  6. Brandi, these look amazing! I've been toying with a similar idea since I haven't made any raw bars yet, but I think you may have put the bar too high for me! ;) I'll try them for sure
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Awww thank you so much Andie! So glad you like them!
  7. Looks great! I always enjoy your posts, recipes, and photography! :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      That is so sweet, thank you!
  8. I am a huge fan of the EPIC protein powders. I use them for tons of recipes and can't recommend them enough. The flavor is unprecedented!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I so agree! So glad to see another fan! I've truly never tasted another better one!
  9. These look so yummy Brandi! Looking forward to making these soon! Thank you for coming up with so many gi
  10. OH MY GOSH BRANDI!! I am drooling in class and want to run home and make these RIGHT NOW! They look absolutely DELICIOUS! <3 The photo of them all stacked on top of each other is absolutely heavenly! Adding to the list of desserts to try from your blog (that keeps on growing, lol!). YUM!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha! Sorry to make you suffer through class Ceara! Thank you so much for your sweet compliments! So glad you love that photo...because it wasn't my favorite at all!!
  11. Sorry my phone got ahead of me and published my comment before I was done! Anyway, thank you for coming up with so many good recipes that aren't chocolate! I love it but my husband doesn't (?????!!!!!) so I'm always needing alternatives! You're the best!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Diana! My hubby isn't a huge chocolate fan either, so I understand!! I love cinnamon and vanilla actually more than chocolate, so there is always something for everybody on my blog! :)
    • Vanilla flavor is my favorite one! :)
  12. I don't usually use protein powders--I usually use hemp powder for protein. But when I do use protein powders, chocolate is my favorite!
  13. I like chocolate protein powder, but I'd love to find one with a neutral, unsweetened flavor.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      They have a plain, unsweetened brown rice protein powder :)
  14. My favorite plant-based protein powder is Sunwarrior vanilla. I find it to be a great compromise between price, taste, and nutrition!
  15. These look lovely! I usually just stick to vanilla protein powder...it seems to mesh the best with all of the smoothies that I have it in:)
  16. These bars look amazing, I've still not got around to making the cinnamon cheesecake, so I'm going to set aside some time at Easter to make both! Wish I was in the US so I could enter the giveaway. Good luck everyone x
  17. A vanilla cake and pecan pie baby? -- yes please! I love the flavor of lucuma. That protein powder sounds really nice. Great specs :)
  18. I'm a huge chocolate junkie, so I almost always go for chocolate when I use protein powder. The vanilla lucuma sounds absolutely dreamy, though!
  19. This dessert looks drool-worthy and fabulous like all the other ones in the blog! I have not used any protein powders so far, having read mixed reviews. Maybe this is something I should try!
  20. EVA
    I'm in DIRE need of a vegan protein powder that isn't either super gritty or overwhelmed with stevia-aftertaste. I've literally tried them all, but have never seen EPIC around. Time to see if it's the miracle protein powder! I usually go for vanilla for protein powder as I HATE berry-flavored things, and the chocolate always seems to taste too fake. Then again, I like my chocolate BITTER!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I guarantee Eva you would like this protein powder. Just like you I have literally hated every single one out there and also because the ingredient lists are so bad, but this one not only has great ingredients, the taste are phenomenal!! The Vanilla Lucuma is to die for....has a bit of vanilla and cinnamon in it, my 2 favorite flavors! Good luck on winning!
  21. love to win.
  22. My favorite flavor of protein is actually the Sprout Living Epic Green Kingdom, but I love all of their protein powders :)!
  23. These are just stunning Brandi! I'm so excited to hear about this protein powder. It looks and sounds amazing!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Laura, that is so kind of you!!
  24. These bars definitely do sound like a dream.. I love challenging myself to make healthy raw desserts and will be making these.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you Thalia! Please let me know if you try them!
  25. I love vanilla flavored protein powders!
  26. I love protein powders! My favorite is vanilla, any good quality kind will do.
  27. These look beautiful, and I bet they taste even better!
  28. I have always loved how easy and awesome protein powders are and would love to try Epic's. My favorite flavors always involve chocolate since I love making a chocolate protein "malt" with frozen bananas!
  29. Chocolate or Berry flavors
  30. Oh wow, these bars look amazing and so unique! I love coconut sugar so much too! I'm hit and miss with protein powder; I go in spurts where I'll have it a lot and then hardly at all! I need to try this Epic Protein though! It looks so good!
  31. If I could, I would insert the heart eyed emoji here. YUM!
  32. I don't do many protein powders, but with the one I used to do I loved the chocolate.
  33. My favorite protein powder flavor is chocolate.
  34. Chocolate is my favorite, yum!
  35. I love protein powders, I don't really have a favorite, I like using them for making bars (your recipe looks great! and want to try), smoothies, ice cream, so the flavor depends on what I'm making!!! These two flavors sound wonderful!
  36. i really like both sunwarrior and growing naturals. this sounds delicious, though! love the recipe, too
  37. These look beyond incredible, Brandi. I love the soft, gooey-ness, the color...they are begging to be bitten into!!
  38. I'm generally not a fan of protein powder so I'm excited to hear that these might be a tastier option!
  39. These bars are making my mouth water.. I'm a huge fan of pecan pie and we eat it for every holiday. also, I've yet to try a protein powder that I like but I've also only tried the RAW brand as well and some hemp protein powder. Wasn't really a fan of either so this is definitely work checking out! Thanks so much for the recipe xoxo
  40. These bars look delicious
  41. Oh, my!!! These look amazing! Besides the protein powder, I've got all of these ingredients. Pecans are surprisingly buttery - I love them! Lately I've been in the same boat as far as smoothies go, been starting the day with food I have to actually chew. When I do make smoothies I make them extra thick and load them with toppings so I'm forced to chew! Great giveaway, by the way!! I've heard wonderful things about this brand, I'll have to enter!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      It really is the best tasting protein powder out there in my opinion, thank you so much Mandy!
  42. I love a great vanilla protein powder!
  43. I have never tried protein powder, mostly because of the expense. This brand looks like it would actually be worth the money. Thanks for the giveaway!
  44. I'm usually more into chocolate-y desserts, but these look awesome! That being said, as a chocolate girl, chocolate shakes mixed with a banana and sometimes powdered pb are my favorite!
  45. I haven't been able to find any that don't have fake ingredients. I'm excited to try this powder though!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yes, I know...most have them, which is why I love Sprout Living, because they don't!
  46. They look so fabulous and I love the ingredients list and the sound of that protein powder! I'll give them a go with a vanilla powder I have and perhaps add a pinch of lucuma too!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Poppy! Please let me know how they turn out!
  47. sooo creamy and so dreamy!
  48. Favorite protein powder flavor??? Well, chocolate, of course! What else is there :) !
  49. I really like vanilla flavored powers. They practically go with everything!
  50. I love chocolate.
  51. Cinnamon is by far my favorite!
  52. I'm glad to see another recommendation for a vegan protein powder. I have given Vega a few tries, and there is just some sort of funky taste that I can't get over and no number of bananas can mask. It stinks, because the sample sizes you can get at the store aren't enough to really help you make a decision, but if you buy a big tub of the stuff, you feel obligated to choke it down because you spent so much money on it!
  53. Vanilla is my favorite protein flavor!
  54. Since I just love cashew I certainly would love your recipe. Thanks for sharing.
  55. I like chocolate the best.
  56. Super awesome protein bars. I'm usually a big fan of hemp protein and use it a lot in my baking or in smoothies. I'm so curious about the vanilla protein powder. It seems to be difficult to find in general - at least if one does not want sugar or artificial flavors. Thank you, Brandi, for this hint and the yummy recipe!
  57. YUM!!! I loooove this protein :D do you use raw or roasted cashew butter Brandi?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Hannah! I actually make my own cashew butter at home by roasting them for 15 minutes at 300 degrees, then processing in my food processor until very smooth and creamy. But raw cashew butter would totally work here too. I really don't think it will affect it either way! Let me know if you try it!
  58. My favorite protein powder flavor is vanilla. It's far more versatile for me when I concoct my smoothies. Thanks for a great giveaway!
  59. My favorite is the vegan Shakeology in chocolate, BUT I would love to try Sprout Living's Vanilla! This recipe looks amazing (as all of yours do)!
  60. these sound so amazing! cashews are by farrrrr my favorite nut I can't wait to try these they look so dreamy :) and such a generous giveaway! my current favorite protein. is PUMPKIN SEED PROTEIN! I found it at a home goods a few weeks back! love trying new vegan proteins!
  61. Wow these look seriously amazing! I'm so intrigued by these protein powders! So far I have been a fan of Perfect Fit, which is simple organic brown rice protein and SunWarrior is still prob my fav I think!!
  62. Thank you for this awesome giveaway! This is a beautiful and inspiring blog. Thank you for your contribution to the vegan community! You rock!
  63. I usually buy the standard vanilla protein, but Sprout Living's Chocolate Maca and Vanilla Lucama sound absolutely amazing!
  64. These 2 flavors sound amazing!!! Thank you for the opportunity to win!
  65. Just finished making the Gee Whiz...I am going to add some Chopped Ortega Chilis (from the can)... Akso made the Raw Vanilla Pecan Dream Bars...oh my, they are quite delicious! I have made several of your recipes, and they are all SO wonderful! You really know how to create wonderful foods for is Vegans. THANKYOU SO MUCH!!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I am so happy to hear you loved these bars so much and my other recipes! I really appreciate the feedback so much, thank you!
  66. I knew I had to make these bars the moment I saw the dreamy picture come across in my email!! I promptly ordered a bag of the lucuma vanilla protein powder and just made the bars tonight. OMG these are so delicious! Creamy and gooey with just the right amount of vanilla and caramel sweetness!! I love that they are raw so I don't have to wait for a long baking / cooling time when my sweet tooth kicks in! I will definitely make a double batch next time as I can already tell you tonight's batch will not last long!! Love all your recipes, thanks Brandi!
  67. I've made these several times now. My most favorite dessert. Although Sun Warrior Vegan Vanilla Protein powder is good, the Epic brand blows it out of the water! I just ordered it, and yes, you are right. It is superior. Today, I made another batch, and to my horror, discovered I only had enuf cashew butter for the frosting, so I sub'd Almond Butter in the bars. Although still good, the almond flavor overpowers the pecan, which was disappointing to me. Just wanted to give you some feedback on my experience. Don't worry, I'll eat them, ha ha!!! Thank you again for all your recipes. I have NEVER been disappointed!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wow, I am so happy to hear that Carol!! So glad this is your favorite dessert and thank you so much for letting me know. I agree, Epic Protein is by far the best taste and quality! It tastes so good. Good to know about the almond butter. I love almond butter, but I chose cashew butter because it has a sweet flavor to it and I thought it would lend that vanilla cake-ish flavor best. So glad you love these!
  68. I'm a chocoholic, but these are absolutely fabulous. No chocolate needed with these babies! Made it with the extra oat flour and coconut sugar. Added just a little bit extra vanilla as well. And I used steel cut oats because I have some I need to use up (discovered they don't do well as overnight oats)---blended them to flour in the BlendTec. Once again, a fantastic recipe. You have an uncanny ability to zero on exactly what is needed for maximum flavor while preserving some reasonable nutrition integrity! I gave this recipe 5 stars---wish there was an option for more!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh, I'm so happy to hear this Ellen! Thank you so much for such a kind compliment and amazing review! I'm so glad to hear you used my extra oat flour and coconut sugar alternative if not using the protein powder! Thank you so much again for rating the recipe!
  69. Ela
    Oh, Brandi, these look absolutely amazing! Thanks for posting these "babies" on Instagram and linking to your amazing blog :)

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