Well, as much as I tried to resist it, fall is here – and so are Pumpkin Spice Bars!
Every year I feel I drag myself into fall, holding on to summer produce and the carefree summer clothes. This year, I noticed as I was clinging to the raw foods of summer, I wasn’t feeling great. Not sick, but my digestion wasn’t feeling the same. So, I started eating more cooked foods and warming soups. I noticed a difference within a day or two.
Now that I’m embracing more fall foods, I’ve been playing with apple, squash and pumpkin recipes, including these PUMPKIN SPICE BARS!
These snack bars taste every bit like other pumpkin treats, yet they are made with pumpkin seeds, not pumpkin puree. The dried apricots help enhance the pumpkin flavor, along with the spices.
I’ve had this recipe in my pocket for quite a while now. It was actually one I had planned to include in PPF, but as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I had to cut down the recipe content. Dang it! I hate that! But, I do love sharing the recipe with you now.
The frosting is… well… a must. Just don’t skip it, okay? The bars will be okay without it. But why bother making them without it? If you’re going to take the time to make these Pumpkin Spice Bars, do yourself the favor of investing the extra 5-10 minutes to whip up the simple frosting.
Don’t let me hear any of you making these without the frosting, k? That’s all I have to say about that. 😁 And, if you are averse to using coconut butter and don’t have nut allergies, try the cashew butter option!
Since these bars are nut-free, they can be packed in lunch. I’d classify them as more of a sweet snack than a full-fledged dessert. But, up to you!
Enjoy, guys. Do let me know how you like them! x Dreena
Maple-Frosted Pumpkin Spice Bars
These healthy pumpkin bars are darn easy to make, yet look quite special with the maple frosting drizzle!
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp rounded cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg or more to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 cup dried apricots unsulphured
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup brown rice crispy cereal I like Erewhon brand, can also substitute organic, unsweetened corn flakes
- 1/3 cup coconut butter not oil (see note)
- 1 1/2 tbsp nondairy milk
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- couple pinches sea salt
In a food processor, first process the oats with the pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and salt and spices. Puree until crumbly and fine. Then, add the apricots, dates, and vanilla and process until the mixture becomes uniform and sticky. Depending on how moist your dates (and especially apricots) are, this may take a few minutes. Just as it is getting very sticky, add the brown rice crisp cereal process through. The mixture should still be sticky, and forming some balls or clumps in the processor bowl. Transfer mixture to an 8” x 8” pan lined with parchment paper (not much larger, but could use a smaller, deeper dish). Press mixture into pan evenly. In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the ingredients for the drizzle, whisking through through until it melts down and becomes a liquid enough to pour. Avoid heating the mixture over too high a heat as it can scorch. Once thinned out, pour over the bars in a drizzle pattern. Refrigerate until completely cool, then cut into squares. Makes about 16-20 bars.
Chocolate option: Add 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder with the oats and seeds, etc. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of chocolate chips at the end when adding the crisp rice cereal.
Coconut option: If nuts are okay for you to use, try raw cashew butter in place of the coconut butter. You can omit the milk if using cashew butter as it isn't as thick as coconut butter.
photo credit: Nicole Axworthy, adashofcompassion.com
This post was originally published September 2015 and updated for September 2020.