I grew up in the Midwest where Halloween was as big an event as Christmas. We illuminated our bushes and trees and festooned the insides of our homes with skeletons. Hundreds of pieces of candy were at the ready for Trick or Treaters. Our neighborhood was the kind of place where neighbors made bonfires in their driveways and sat outside eating bowls of chili passing out candy. The air was always frigid and there were crispy leaves on the ground. It was a thing and I have always loved every minute of it.
Even though it was 93 degrees where I now live the day Pumpkin Spice Lattes became available at Starbucks, I still love the season. Every time I walk into a store and see all things pumpkin/Halloween it brings up a child-like feeling of excitement in me that I do not ignore. I still encourage those pure feelings of joy even though I have replaced the mini KitKats of my childhood with whole foods and maple syrup. Baking always makes me feel joyful and connects me with seasonal change regardless of the outside temp. Besides, we are still cranking the air so why not sit inside eating Pumpkin Bars pretending its Fall?
Recently a friend of mine showed up for our coffee date with these pumpkin bars to share. I LOVE having friends that are so cool and generous. It was remarkable because she had no idea how truly obsessed I am with all things pumpkin, but there they were. They are a snap to make and use only easy to find ingredients. Bonus, they are free from refined sugars or grains and are naturally gluten and dairy free. The cool thing is that they taste like pumpkin cheesecake despite their healthy ingredient list.
I made these the very next day because I was quite sure I could not go through a full day without them. I really love them and hope you do too. Thank you Jessica of AIPLifestyles.com for such a magnificent Pumpkin Bar recipe and thank you Melissa for bringing them to share. You both have made my Autumn a bit sweeter.
by: Jessica Flanigan writer of www.AIPLifestyle.com
1/2 cup coconut butter (found in the same aisle as peanut butter or coconut oil)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 heaping cup coconut flour
1 1/2 cup cooked winter squash (butternut or pumpkin) (I used organic canned pumpkin)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbls maple syrup
On the stove, gently melt coconut oil.
In food processor, add squash (or pumpkin), spices, coconut flour, salt and maple syrup. Pour melted coconut oil and coconut butter on top and blend for 30 seconds being sure all the big pieces of squash/pumpkin are blended.
Line a square 8×8 brownie pan with parchment paper. Scoop the bar filling into the pan and use a spatula to smooth it out. Bake for 25 min at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, let cool, cover and put in fridge until completely chilled; about 3 hours.
~When I took mine out of the oven, they did not look set in the middle. Let them cool on a cooling rack for a bit, then put them in the fridge for an hour. I then impatiently pulled them out of the fridge to find that they were still not set in the middle. So, I let them chill for another two hours, exactly like it said to do in the first place and they came out perfectly. Insert sheepish, smiley face here. Do not despair if it looks unset, but do follow the directions and allow to chill for three hours.
Once you cut them into bars you may store them in the fridge to enjoy at your leisure. I suggest you tell the rest of your family that they are healthy (yuck) and then they will shun them leaving the entire pan for you to consume.
Have a delicious day,