Bhaaa….don’t hate me… I must do it… Halloween is Friday… I’m so sorry….just one more…these are de-licious…you won’t hate me after trying it I promise. Are we still friends? I know, I know, everyone is sick and tired of pumpkin, but let’s hold up a minute. Are we just sick and tired of hearing about pumpkin or of the taste? Let’s try a little game out. Close your eyes and think about all things pumpkin. Creamy, fragrant, spiced, pumpkin. Okay, what’d you come up with? Or do I even need to ask?
Silly me, you all thought of delicious, cake-like, cinnamony (I may have just made that up but go with it) pumpkin bars. Of course, of course. –>INSERT WEIRD SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE<–
Okay, now that we are all on the same page about pumpkin and still loving the one million new pumpkin recipes that make an appearance through the month of October (you love every.single.one of them). Ahem, why not take a stab at these easy, peasy pumpkin bars with a dollop of whipped icing on top? Plus, need I remind you these are healthy. Like h, to the e, to the -a-l-t-h-y, healthy! Said in a crazy cheerleader kind of way. Okay that got a little weird.
Loaded with nutrient dense, fiber-rich vegetable puree and all-natural sugar, these are sure to be a crowd pleaser. Well that is if they ever make it to the crowd. The hubs forbid that any of these pumpkin bars leave the house after I threatened to give them all away because of the terribly addicting taste they provide. So I stood by his decision to hoard the bars all to ourselves consuming far, far too many in one day. Whoops! We did have help, see the hands?
Can we blame the quick disappearance of these bars on our kids? Fair? Okay, we’ll just go with it. These hands demolished the bars! Moving on, pumpkin is an interesting little puree so I am sure you are all dying for a little….
Here’s the facts folks. Pumpkin is packed full of hearty nutrients helping our bodies function. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. It also contains roughly 3 grams of fiber per serving, provides 20% of your vitamin C needs and has just over 100 more milligrams of potassium than a banana.
Pumpkin can be used in a number of culinary creations from desserts to stews and even in sauces providing a desired creaminess to many recipes. But pumpkin or canned pumpkin has a dirty little secret. Most “canned” pumpkin is not actually 100% pumpkin. WHAT?!? Don’t worry, it isn’t that bad, most canned pumpkin puree is actually made from one or more types of winter squash such as butternut, golden delicious and dickinson, rather than actual pumpkin.
So why does the label say 100% pumpkin puree? Well it boils down to the leniency the USDA provides for the distinction between squash and pumpkin. They define pumpkin as, “The canned product prepared from clean, sound, properly matured, golden fleshed, firm shelled, sweet varieties of either pumpkins and squash by washing, stemming, cutting, steaming and reducing to a pulp.
Yep, that’s the secret, canned pumpkin is usually actually just pureed squash or a combination of squash with a little bit of pumpkin. Why you wonder? Well it is because squash or these varieties of squash are more creamy and less stringy than pumpkin, creating a better product.
Fair enough. The plus side is that squash in my book is easier to cut, prep and cook than pumpkin. So just go for the squash when you are in need of the orange creamy goodness. Now go bake these amazing little bars. And let me know how your cutting job goes. Obviously no one is going to be asking me to cut their wedding cake anytime soon, yikes! I need to brush up on my skills! Note to self: don’t become a pastry chef, enough said.
- 2 cups almond flour
- ¼ cup tapioca flour
- ¼ cup flaxseed meal
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cloves
- ½ tsp ginger
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ⅓ cup honey
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- In a large bowl mix the almond flour, tapioca flour, flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt and chia seeds and spices.
- In a separate bowl, add coconut oil (not melted) and honey. Cream, mixing together until smooth and fluffy with a hand-mixer
- Add in eggs one at a time and continue to mix.
- Continue mixing in pumpkin, vanilla extract, and coconut milk.
- Pour wet ingredients in with dry ingredients and mix together with hand mixer to form batter.
- Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper,
- Pour the mixture evenly in the pan.
- Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Set the pan on a wire rack when removing it from the oven and allow it to cool.