‘Tis the season…for pumpkin! This yummy recipe satisfies sweet, spicy + chocolate cravings without damning your fit into that SEXY HALLOWEEN COSTUME PLAN!
As always, recipe is paleo friendly, high protein, gluten free, devoid of refined sugar + drastically lower in fat than traditionally prepared cookies, cakes or bars, including that piece of pumpkin CAKE Starbuck’s calls BREAD in order to trick you into thinking it’s healthier for you!
HOW’D WE DO IT?
1. Substitute gluten free flour for traditional glutenous bleached flour. Note: avoid garbanzo bean flour in desserts, it has an unavoidably off-putting aftertaste.
2. Lower fat + increase protein with additional egg whites (less oil/butter).
3. In addition to providing fantastic seasonal flavor, pumpkin also provides fat free moisture + richness, further reducing fat in our bars.
4. Choose coconut oil instead of butter. In moderation, the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in coconut oil is actually helpful vs harmful in preventing heart disease.
5. Deglet Noor dates enhance moisture content, deliver essential chewy texture + depth of flavor. Perfect for bars + cookies.
6. Eliminate refined sugar, reduce total calories + lower glycemic index with calorie free stevia, honey, molasses, dates or when appropriate, fabulously sweet squashes like pumpkin + butternut or root veggies like sweet potatoes + carrots. Thank you Mr. Pumpkin for being sweet AND loaded with vision-boosting beta-carotene!
7. Enlist spices for flavor. You’ll reduce need for excessive sugar in sweet recipes or sodium in savory dishes. Most highly packaged desserts contain limited natural flavor because refined sugars are cheaper and extend shelf life.
TOP with RAW VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE or see VARIATIONS below!
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 8×8 or 9×9-inch baking pan with Reynolds Wrap Nonstick Pan Lining Paper, paper side up. Fold corners of paper to best line the shape of the pan. This paper not only eliminates fat via oil or butter to grease pan, but also speeds cleanup + improves cook throughout, which reduces waste…yeah, you know you’ve cut off burnt or rubbery (nonstick spray) corners before…me too!
In large bowl, sift together flour, protein powder, baking soda + spices.
In stand mixer, blender or food processor, add pumpkin, date puree + coconut oil. Mix until combined. Scrape sides of bowl/ blender. Add eggs + egg whites + mix to combine.
Add 1/2 dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture until thoroughly mixed. Add remaining half + again mix. If using blender or food processor, pour pumpkin mixture over dry ingredients + mix thoroughly using wooden spoon.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, smooth with spatula. Cover with foil. Bake on the center rack for 30 to 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Pick up edges of paper and remove from pan.
If topping with RAW VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, prepare now while you wait for bars to bake + cool. Mix in 2-4Tbsp almond or coconut milk to thin mouse to spreadable consistency.
Allow bars to cool for at least 1 hour, then top with mousse or chocolate drizzle + store in fridge. Slice into 16 squares. Remember this recipe next time you need an alternative to sugary, fatty processed frosting from a can! Store bars in fridge.
1. Nutty Topping. Mix ¼cup raw pecan pieces + 1/4 tsp stevia + 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice + 1/4 tsp cayenne. If skipping chocolate mousse frosting, sprinkle on top of bars just before baking. Otherwise add immediately after frosting.
2. Coconutty Crumble. ½ cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes (try Let’s Do Organic Coconut Flakes). Toast in skillet over medium-high heat, continuously turning with wooden spatula until edges are lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle toasted flakes over bars immediately after frosting.
3. Outta Avos? No avocados for mousse? Short on time? Finely chop 2oz 85% cocoa dark chocolate. After removing bars from oven, sprinkle them with chocolate. Use silicone spatula to spread melting chocolate into a light layer of chocolate. Store in fridge.
4. Chocolate Drizzle. After bars cool, melt 25 grams 85% dark chocolate. (We love TJ’s Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar!) Melt chocolate for 30seconds in small cup in microwave. Check + stir. Microwave another 10 seconds, stir. Repeat until chocolate just reaches melty perfection. Now, make your Jackson Pollack masterpiece!
5. No Pumpkin? Whip up bars using puree of sweet potatoes, carrots or butternut squash! Enjoy your vision-boosting beta-carotene via any of these orange beauties!