Last fall I shared my one bowl applesauce spice bars and today I thought I’d share a slightly different version: pumpkin bars! This was actually the “original” version of the recipe that I first made in college. I could show you the original pictures, too… but I don’t think you really want to see any warped, unappetizing iPhone pictures from 2015 😛
Anyways, we’ve enjoyed these bars as a healthier winter treat for years now. They have no butter or oil, hardly any refined sugar, and even a bit of pumpkin for some vitamin A 🙂 So basically, that means you can load them up with as much cream cheese frosting as you please. Balance, right?
A note on the frosting: for this thick layer of frosting, I used 4oz. cream cheese + 4 tbsp. butter + a little under 2 cups powdered sugar + a dash of vanilla. Soften cream cheese and butter, cream them, splash in vanilla, add sugar by the 1/3 c. until you reach your desired consistency. Electric mixer not required. Yum!
They are also good sprinkled with chocolate or butterscotch chips before putting them in the oven. Or, you can drizzle honey or sprinkle powdered sugar on them afterwards. Any way you eat them, they’re a moist, delicious, allergy-friendly treat–good enough to serve to gluten eaters, too.
Note: I tried a new all-purpose gluten-free flour mix this time, and whilst it resulted in holey-er pumpkin bars than usual, they taste exactly the same as when I’ve made them with other mixes. This recipe is quite forgiving and perfect for the beginning gluten-free baker.
So here it is!
Healthier Pumpkin Bars (Gluten & Dairy Free)
Makes 9 gluten-free, dairy-free bars
- 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
- 1/3 c. maple syrup or honey*
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tbsp. white or brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. all-purpose gluten-free flour**
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ginger
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 c. chocolate or butterscotch chips (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350F and grease or line an 8″x8″ square baking tin.
- Mix the pumpkin, maple syrup or honey, vanilla, and sugar. Then, add the eggs and mix well.
- Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Add all of the dry ingredients at the same time, then mix, to ensure even incorporation into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the greased/lined pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle chocolate or butterscotch chips if using.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool, then top with frosting or sugar if desired.
*If you’re using a super thick, sticky honey, melt it in the microwave first for easy mixing!
**I usually bake with our favorite homemade gluten-free flour mix: 6 parts brown rice flour, 2 parts potato starch, and 1 part tapioca starch. For these photos, I used King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten-Free Flour and it worked well too! Almost any gluten-free flour mix will work, as long as it doesn’t have leavening (baking powder/soda) in it.
What’s the tastiest thing you’ve eaten recently? And are you a pumpkin spice fan?
I love pumpkin baked goods like these bars and my oatmeal, but I actually don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. I know, that’s basically sacrilege in MN ;P I find them way too sweet and fake-tasting, though!