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RECIPE: Healthy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars

09/18/2013 08:39 EDT | Updated 11/18/2013 05:12 EST

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I love when fall comes and all the pumpkin goodies are in full effect. I wanted to make a pumpkin bar, but without 1 cup of oil and processed flour. My healthier version doesn't have any of that, and still came out moist and delicious.

The cream cheese icing makes it really decadent. I used real icing sugar vs. an alternative, but you're welcome to try your own icing modifications. For a sugar free icing sugar, you can mix together xylitol and cornstarch. Another option would be whipping up coconut milk into cream and adding some stevia or sugar to sweeten.

When deciding on what flour to use, I chose to do a 50/50 ratio of oat flour to almond flour. I was nervous about using all almond flour, as I thought the final result might be to wet. It was borderline wet in this recipe as is, so if you do a straight almond flour version, I recommend cutting down on either the pumpkin or applesauce. I think an all oat flour version would work just fine as below, and I'm planning on trying that version next. You could also try subbing out some of the flour for equal parts of protein powder if you choose (up to 1/2 cup should work fine).

Healthy Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

Makes 24 Bars

Ingredients

For the bars

2 eggs

4 egg whites (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)

1/3 cup sucanat or coconut palm sugar (or another type of raw brown sugar)

1/2 cup stevia for baking (or 1/2 cup favorite sugar substitute) *I also added 4 packets of stevia, as I found the batter wasn't sweet enough

1/4 cup oil (I used safflower, could use coconut oil, canola, vegetable, etc)

2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (2 snack packs)

1 2/3 cups canned pumpkin (which is 1 x 398ml or 14oz can)

1 cup oat flour

1 cup almond flour or meal

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

For the icing

2 Tbsp butter (for dairy free use margarine) *room temp

3 Tbsp cream cheese (for dairy free use Toffuti Cream Cheese) *room temp

2 cups icing (confectioners) sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp+ milk (just enough for the icing to come together)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and spray a 9 x 11″ pan with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, add in all the wet ingredients (everything from eggs through to pumpkin). Mix until blended. Next, add in all your dry ingredients to the same bowl (oat flour through to nutmeg). Mix until combined. Pour into pan and bake for approx 40 minutes until a toothpick comes clean.

*Cooking time may vary (depending on the size of pan you use, and flour used). I found the bars to be quite wet, so I kept baking them till they dried out a bit.

Cool the bars completely.

Whip together the icing ingredients in a mixer. Whip until light and fluffy. Spread icing on cooled bars, and cut into squares.

Nutrition (per bar no icing) Calories: 93 Fat: 5.4 g Carbs: 10.6 g Fiber: 2.6 g Sugar: 3 g Sodium: 158 mg Protein: 2.8 g

Nutrition (per bar WITH icing) Calories: 138 Fat: 6.9 g Carbs: 19 g Fiber: 2.6 g Sugar: 11.2 g Sodium: 171 mg Protein: 3 g

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