Nov 28, 2013

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, Happy Thanksgiving + HHK Turns 1!

Well how about that for timing? Helyn’s Healthy Kitchen is one year old today! Thanksgiving, of all days. And, boy, do I have a lot to be thankful for! I get to spend Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones in the most magical place on the planet… the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina.

We’ve been here for over a year now and I fall in love with these mountains all over again, every single day. Did you know that the Smokies are the oldest mountains on the planet? I didn’t until after we moved here. I’ve lived within other mountainous areas before, specifically in New Mexico. While the Rockies are quite majestic and spectacular, they are also pretty unforgiving. I always say that the Smokies are a “kinder, gentler” mountain range with their tree-covered slopes, pastured valleys and flowering meadows. At the bottom of this post, I will be sharing some photos of this beautiful area and my life over the past year…

I hope that you are enjoying Thanksgiving with those you care most about. Succumb to the peacefulness of the holiday today, cozy up with your loved ones and enjoy the comfort of home and the wonderful aromas of Thanksgiving Dinner. Remember to breathe and appreciate the day. Take time to reflect upon your blessings for there are many who are without.

Here are some of the things I am most thankful for this year:

  • My health and the health of those I love. 
  • My son, who is happy and busily attending college with a 4.0 GPA, doing what he loves. He is and always will be my greatest joy. 
  • My wonderful man, who enriches my life in every way. He happily proofreads every post I write for you! He encourages me to be who I am and supports all of my endeavors. We have a beautifully simple, fun and spiritual relationship. 
  • This blog, which one year ago today was a fleeting fancy of wanting to share some recipes with whoever needed to enjoy a healthier lifestyle through plant-based nutrition, and has grown into a substantial vegan platform in the blogging world with now over 50,000 hits per month and more than 300 recipes shared. 
  • Dr. Joel Fuhrman, for all of his research and his selfless endeavor to create a healthier civilization through superior nutrition. 

There is so much more. I could go on and on about everything that I am thankful for but, alas, I want to get to today’s recipe!

Oh, my. I’m salivating all over again as I look at the pictures of this fabulous, healthy dessert. Rich chocolate, plant-strong pecans, mineral-rich dates to sweeten. Yes, a fitting birthday dessert for this hard working blogger… and a lovely addition to any holiday feast.


~ for the crust

  • 2 TBS ground flax + 3 TBS water
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 6 medjool dates, pits removed
  • ¼ cup non-alkalized cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

~ for the filling

  • 20 medjool dates, pits removed
  • ½ cup sorghum molasses (or other molasses, but sorghum has a beautifully round and deep flavor whereas blackstrap is more harsh)
  • 1½ cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup non-alkalized cocoa powder
  • 6 TBS ground chia seeds
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup Bourbon
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

~ for the topping

  • 2 cups raw, whole pecans
  • ¼ cup of pure maple syrup
before baking


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until combined and sticking together when pressed.
  3. Press the dough into a regular-sized pie plate (not a deep dish). It’s best to use a pastry and pizza roller to do this. It will save you oodles of time. Just place a sheet of plastic wrap over the crust and roll it out and up the sides of the pie plate, then shape the edges however you like.
  4. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into the pie crust and smooth out the top.
  5. Top the filling with the raw pecans in a decorative fashion, starting at the outside and working your way to the center. I said 2 cups of pecans in the ingredients but you will only use 1 cup. You’ll want to pick and choose the nicest pecans for your topping, and they won’t all be perfect. So you’ll have a cup leftover.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove and let cool, then brush the top with the maple syrup using a pastry brush.
  8. Refrigerate overnight before serving. It needs a lot of time to set up.
  9. Enjoy!

All the best to you, my cherished readers. I thank you for your continued visits, your comments and suggestions, your ideas for new recipes… this blog is for you, after all. Here’s to another year of healthy eating and disease-free living!

I don’t normally share a lot of personal info on this blog, but today is special. As promised, here are some pictures of the beautiful place I call home and the wonderful people and creatures I share it with…

scenic sunrise
happy me, on a hike up the mountain behind us
adorable birds at our feeder
a view of the valley and the mountain behind it after a snowfall

Mikey and I, hiking up Max Patch mountain on the Appalachian Trail
Elk at Cataloochee Valley, about 30 minutes from us

out on the town in Asheville

my spoiled kitties… Jewel and Shadow

my honey, getting our first garden soil ready
my dearest and closest friend, Jeanne
snowfall from last winter… view from the porch

my lovely mom and my handsome son

me and my boy, Christmas 2012

my favorite past-time… besides blogging and cooking!

the beauty of a crisp Fall day in the mountains

Lake Junaluska sunset, 10 minutes from home

our beautiful friends, Vicki, Cami and Casper

on a hike to a local waterfall

our state bird, the handsome Cardinal, outside my window

Happy Thanksgiving!

11 responses to “Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, Happy Thanksgiving + HHK Turns 1!”

  1. Noemi says:

    You are in a beautiful area of the country, I so fondly remember Maggie Valley, Asheville, Waynesville and so much more… Thank you for all the wonderful recipe's throughout the year, I have shared so many of them, and thank you for the education as I am new to this way of life. A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well.
    ♥ Noemi

  2. Helyn says:

    Thank you so much Noemi! 🙂

  3. Jen says:

    Love the photos. It looks so beautiful there. The pie looks delicious too.

  4. I don't know how she does it. Every day I say "This is the most delicious thing I've ever eaten!" I have to share a personal win. Last month Helyn colored my roots (yes, she's a pro Cosmetologist too!). In one month my hair had grown an inch and a half and the roots were darker than they have been in over 20 years. My hair normally grows about 3/4 an inch a month. This change in speed of hair-growth and darker roots is due to the nutrient-dense foods I eat every day – all from Helyn's Healthy Kitchen. Sometimes we disregard the power of healing foods but when we see it reflected in hair, skin and overall health, it's impossible to ignore. And to love every single bite – wow – can it get any better than that?!

  5. Helyn says:

    Love ya, girl! ♥

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Thank you for this recipe!!! Made this for New Year's Eve and it was incredible!!! For years I had made a fudge pecan pie that had egg yolks, condensed milk, chocolate chips in it. It makes me sick just thinking about it now, because I no longer consider those things food. Your recipe gave us the taste and texture we loved but with healthy ingredients!

  7. Helyn says:

    You're so welcome!! 🙂

  8. Elyse says:

    Made this on a suggestion from the Fuhrman forums for my husband's birthday…what a success! Thank you, we loved it!

  9. Helyn says:

    You're welcome! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  10. Helen Faber says:

    Love the family and home pictures, Helyn! Thanks for sharing.

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