Good morning, loves. I have an amazing little recipe for you today…Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Squares.
Need I say more?
With Halloween just around the corner…fond memories of dressing up, scurrying around the neighborhood with a big pillowcase, and ringing the doorbell of every large house that was rumored to have King size Snicker bars flood in and out of my brain.
Back when I was a wee one, I paid no mind to the massive quantities of white sugar I was devouring or the 85+ grams of saturated fat I was gobbling up…orrrrr all the costly little cavities I was potentially inciting. Ahhh, to be young.
So my question now is, how do we rekindle these memories tenderly, marinate in our nostalgia, and yet still stay relatively healthy around this festive time of year?
It’s easier than you may think.
…It’s actually quite simple.
Let’s go back to basics.
Made with fresh pumpkin, aromatic spices, rolled oats, and rich dark chocolate, these pumpkin squares are vegan, gluten free, AND, with the exception of that delicious dark chocolate (see delicious…dark chocolate above…), totally refined sugar free. And yet they are so incredibly filling and yummy. I mean you might as well call them little squares of deception.
Just a suggestion.
These are great for breakfast, perfect for dessert, and ohh fine, I won’t lie. I ate 2 or 3 before my work out, too.
Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Squares
Makes about 8 bars
- 2 3/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 heaping tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- pinch of ground ginger
- 1 cup of pumpkin (canned or freshly pureed)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 banana) or you can use 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup of date paste (made from 6-7 Medjool dates) or you can use 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 T coconut or olive oil
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips + 2 T for sprinkling on top
- Preheat your oven to a roasty toasty 350 degrees.
- Make the oat flour going by dumping the rolled oats into a food processor and pulsing until the oats are ground into a powdery-fine flour. If you prefer a chunkier square that’s a little more chewy and gritty, you can alternatively only grind half of the oats up! Whatever’s clever.
- To make the date paste, simply drop the dates into a small bowl of hot water and let them sit for about 10 minutes. You can also put them in a bowl of lukewarm water and heat them up lazily in the microwave for about 30 seconds. When they’re squishy and soft, remove the pit, throw them in the food processor, and whip until they become a sweet and sticky paste. Skip this step if you’re using real sugar.
- In one bowl, mix together the oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all zee spices (including salt)!
- In a separate bowl, mash up the pumpkin, vanilla, banana (or applesauce), date paste (or sugar), and oil. Mix them together a little bit by hand. I found that everything didn’t combine as smoothly as I wanted it to…and so I threw the wet ingredients back into the food processor and pulsated until creamy. You can probbbbably get away with just mixing it, but put yo’ back into it. If using sugar, you can definitely just mix it all up nice n’ easy. Once it’s mixed up, transfer back to the original larger bowl.
- Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and stir just until everything is incorporated.
- Stir in 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips.
- Transfer mixture into a small, greased square baking dish or pan. It may not be very runny, and you might have to kind of smash it down and shape it so the top is flat. I mean this may not be Michaelangelo’s David, but by all means, sculpt away.
- Sprinkle that bad boy with the remaining 2 T of dark chocolate cheeeeeps.
- Bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on the pan you use. Check after 15 minutes…insert a toothpick into the loaf and when it comes out clean, cool for about 10 minutes and then the squares are ready to snarf. I mean, to eat in a ladylike fashion.
- Yeah right to the last sentence 🙂
Enjoy and Happy Halloween!