I love pumpkin pie. I could probably eat nothing but pumpkin pie for weeks before beginning to ponder the fact that I should probably cast my dietary net a little wider. When I stumbled upon a recipe at thekitchn.com for chai spiced pumpkin bars I knew I had to give this recipe a try.
These bars require very little time and effort in the kitchen. Make these the morning of a dinner party or the night before and you are all set. Added bonus, they are vegan and gluten-free.
For the crust:
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup pitted dates, chopped
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 3/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
Line an 8″x8″ baking pan with parchment paper.
To prepare the crust, place the oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add 2/3 cup dates and process until well combined and sticky. The mixture may look crumbly, but it should hold together when pinched between your fingers. If necessary, add one or two more dates to get the right consistency.
Press the dough firmly and evenly into the baking pan. Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling, combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and spices in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the coconut flour and blend until well combined.
Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the filling on top, spreading it out evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
I have been trying really hard not to alter recipes the first time I make things; saving my additions and changes for later incarnations of the dishes. I knew this recipe called for a wee bit more cardamom that my taste buds prefer, but I decided to go for it anyway. My friend, who served as my taste tester, found the amount of cardamom just right. To be perfectly honest, I really enjoyed it as well. I would have preferred more ginger and less cardamom so I will probably play with the spices next time. I did make one slight addition (I just couldn’t help myself) – I added a teaspoon of cocoa powder. My grandmother used to say chocolate soothes the soul. With this amazing mix of spices I just knew a touch of cocoa would make it soothe my soul…I was right, or should I say, my grandmother was right.