Happy Thanksgiving long weekend to all of my Canadian friends! I know it’s been a while since I have updated the blog, but after a busy summer of travelling and then starting up the school year I had to cut back on a few of my side projects. Unfortunately that meant less recipes and articles for the blog, but hey that’s life!
Today I’m back to share a pumpkin pie bar recipe with you that I created yesterday. It is very easy to make since it’s no-bake, which might be helpful if your oven is full of the rest of your turkey dinner, or if you don’t consider yourself particularly skilled at baking. These bars are also gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free, which might appeal to many of you who have special dietary needs, or who have family members or other guests coming for dinner with special dietary needs. I created this recipe out of love for anyone who finds it difficult during holiday seasons because of a food allergy or dietary need (ex. Celiac, vegan, tree nut allergy). I know that people with special dietary needs can often left out or feel as though they are imposing on their hosts with their restrictions. Many times, it can be equally stressful as a host when you want to make sure you have something delicious to serve your guest, but no idea what to make. Despite being free from some of the more common dessert ingredients, these pumpkin pie bars are a treat that everyone can enjoy and not feel like they are eating some special dessert “alternative.” I personally have quite a few loved ones in my life who do have special dietary needs, so over the years I have been inspired to create many recipes to accommodate them and make sure they are able to safely enjoy delicious foods at every meal we share together!
I love butter and eggs and gluten and sugar – and the delicious pastries that they can create. There was a period in my life where I tried to eliminate or limit these ingredients, but luckily my body actually digests these ingredients just fine. Unfortunately this is not the case for many individuals with food allergies/intolerances, or who choose to eat a certain way according to their values (ex. veganism). I didn’t create this recipe as a “healthy dessert” or because I want to promote the idea that we all need to be going gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar free. If eating that way makes your body feel good and your life enjoyable, then you do you! And if eating all foods without labels or restrictions makes you feel great, then you should do that!
Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, or if you’re just relaxing at home, I hope you have a wonderful day full of delicious foods and good people!
No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars
- 1/3 cup pitted Medjool dates
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free certified if celiac)
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree
- 1/2-3/4 cup maple syrup (you can add more or less to sweeten to your taste)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (you can add more or less to spice to your taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons coconut flour
Line an 8x8” or 9x9” baking pan with parchment paper so that it covers the bottom and comes up two of the sides. This will make it easier to lift out the bars for cutting
To make the crust, first soak the pitted Medjool dates and raisins in boiling water for 3-5 minutes to soften them. Drain the water and add the dates and raisins into a food processor along with the remaining crust ingredients. Process on high speed for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture begins to clump together slightly. It should hold together when pinched with your fingers. If it is too crumbly, add a tiny bit of the date/raisin soaking water at a time and continue to process.
Press the crust dough firmly and evenly into the parchment-lined baking pan. Place the crust in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling, combine all filling ingredients in the food processor and blend on high until smooth. Adjust the sweetness and pumpkin pie spice to your taste if desired.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust and smooth out the top evenly. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5-6 hours or freezer for 2-3 hours so that the bars can firm up. You can also make these a day ahead and chill in the fridge overnight.
When ready to serve, lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper as handles, then slice with a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between cuts. It is much easier to cut the bars into squares while they are very cold. Serve chilled and store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.