RECIPESOCTOBER 4, 2012

pumpkin bars with maple-pecan cookie crust

You rarely hear of pumpkin cravings in the middle of summer, but now that October is here, the season is upon us. When it comes to fall foods, pumpkin is a fan favorite. It’s a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and immunity boosting vitamin C; I love adding pumpkin puree to morning oatmeal, yogurt, and chia bowls.

To satisfy my sweet treat cravings, I wanted create a bar reminiscent of pumpkin pie. I found inspiration for the crust from my maple-pecan cookie recipe. So these creamy, custardy squares are like having pumpkin pie on top of a crunchy cookie. Sounds good to me.

When I made these bars a few days ago, a friend walked into the kitchen and said, “It smells like Thanksgiving in here!” Happy Fall.

Pumpkin Bars with Maple-Pecan Cookie Crust

Crust:

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup oat flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Filling:

1 carton(15 oz) pumpkin (or about 1 3/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 organic eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (fresh is best)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Topping:

1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan with coconut oil. Line pan a sheet of parchment paper (cut to fit) and adhere to pan. This will help you to remove bars for a perfect cut. Spread a thin layer of coconut oil on parchment. Set aside.

Spread pecans and oats in an even layer on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 8-10 minutes.

Add toasted nuts, oats and brown rice flour to food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Add remaining crust ingredients and pulse until combined. The mixture should still be a little crumbly. Add crust to the prepared pan and use fingers to press evenly into pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk all filling ingredients in a medium bowl.

Once crust is removed, immediately pour filling onto hot crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until filling is almost set. Top with chopped pecans. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Cut into 9 large squares or 16 smaller pieces.

Notes:

+ Create a vegan version by eliminating eggs and changing the amount of arrowroot to 3 tablespoons.

+ If you have a severe gluten intolerance, be sure to use gluten-free oats.

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