Pumpkin Almond Bars.

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Yet another recipe I’ve been dying to try ever since I laid eyes on it.  The original recipe is from  http://mywholefoodlife.com/2013/10/09/pumpkin-pecan-caramel-bars/ however I adapted it a bit to suit my family and their preferences.  The bars are super moist and delicious.  Pumpkin flavor is quite nice throughout.  My family eats these for breakfast, snack or dessert.  Will most definitely be making these again!  Please note my comments before diving into this yummy recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free oats (you can use whatever gf oats you like or regular oats if gf doesn’t matter to you)
1 cup of raw almonds (whole and unsalted)
1/2 cup of a good quality maple syrup
1 heaping cup of pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup of applesauce ( I used my own unsweetened homemade but  jarred is fine)
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:  The original recipe notes this as the caramel filling.  It is nothing like a caramel texture and see my note about processing this together.

15 pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup of water

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your 8×8 glass baking sheet with parchment paper.  Have it overhang the pan so you can easily remove it once cooled.  Set that aside.

Into your food processor, add the dates and the water.  Now I did this and the water splattered everywhere.  So either do this in a blender or cover your processor with a towel (word to the wise).  Process until smoother – it will not be a caramel consistency but more on the thicker side, which is fine.  Remove that and spoon it into a bowl.  Then add your oats and almonds and blend until you reach a course consistency.  Add the remaining dry ingredients – cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.  Blend with a few additional pulses. In your stand mixer with paddle attachment on, blend the syrup,  pumpkin, applesauce and egg together until well blended.  Then pour your dry ingredients into the wet and blend.  At this point I took about 1/2 of the batter and spooned it into my prepared pan.  Then I took the date paste/caramel and spooned it on top of the first layer (like dropping blobs for a lack of better terminology).  It doesn’t spread smoothly but that is totally fine.  Then add the remaining batter to the top, spreading that evenly.  Bake this for 35-40 minutes or so.  Once a toothpick inserted came out clean and the edges were golden – it was ready.  I let the pan sit out for about 10 minutes then removed it from the glass pan using the overhanging parchment paper.  Laid it on a cutting board and sliced into 9 squares that were decent size.  I let cool and then placed in my covered cake dish on my counter.

 

— Knead to Cook

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