Pumpkin Caramel Bars

Pumpkin is one of my favorite fall foods — that and all the winter squashes. It tastes good savory, sweet, and for breakfast, lunch and dinner … oh, and dessert too! I’m so grateful for this harvest produce because it’s actually a starch that I can eat too. I can’t eat any sort of yam, sweet potato or regular potato, so squashes and pumpkin are my preferred carb sources (along with carrots, beets, and limited to moderate amounts of fruit). You must need to down mass loads of this stuff for your skin to turn orange though because I ate an insane amount of winter squash and pumpkin last fall/winter (nearly every day for at least one, but maybe two meals), and still didn’t turn orange! I wasn’t necessarily going for that look, but I was definitely aware of the idea of it happening.

For the pumpkin layer:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened sunflower seed butter (or almond butter)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I like this brand)

For the caramel layer:

  • 10 – 12 medjool dates, pitted and soaked briefly in boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 4 – 5 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Dash of sea salt
  1. Mix coconut oil, honey, pumpkin and spices together in a small saucepan on the stove.
  2. After several minutes, once the ingredients are mixed together well, remove from heat and mix in sunflower seed butter and vanilla. Stir until everything is combined.
  3. Pour into an 8×8 pan or an 8 or 9-inch round baking pan. Place in the freezer to set.
  4. Meanwhile, get going on the caramel. Add dates to the food processor and pulse until they’re broken down.
  5. Add about half of the water and coconut milk and pulse to combine. Add the remaining water, coconut milk, vanilla and salt. Pulse until well combined.
  6. Take your pumpkin layer out of the freezer after 45 – 60 minutes and top with the date caramel. Place back in the freezer to set further. Store in the refrigerator (or freezer if you like a more solid/frozen bar — it’s good either way!)

48 thoughts on “Pumpkin Caramel Bars

  1. AJG October 2, 2012 / 9:31 am

    Those look amazing! I will have to try the recipe!

    • paleoinpdx October 2, 2012 / 9:38 am

      Thanks! It was an experiment that worked out quite well! Just watch out, they’re kind of addicting!

      • AJG October 2, 2012 / 9:41 am

        The best food is always highly addicting! That’s why I always try to give extras away!

  2. paleoinpdx October 2, 2012 / 9:43 am

    I agree! Sharing is always a good idea too, but sometimes I want it all to myself ;)

  3. EverdayLivingPNW October 2, 2012 / 9:47 am

    Wow those look really good…I think my wife and I need to do some fall baking this weekend stat!

    I just had my first pumpkin spice latte this morning…fall is officially here for me!

    • paleoinpdx October 2, 2012 / 10:12 am

      Yum, pumpkin everything, right?! I love fall flavors so, so much. If you try these out, let me know how you like ’em ;)

  4. Katy October 2, 2012 / 4:52 pm

    These look absolutely amazing! I cannot wait to try this. Yum!

    • paleoinpdx October 2, 2012 / 5:19 pm

      Thanks! Beware, they’re really addicting ;)

  5. Lemons 'n Lyme October 2, 2012 / 7:58 pm

    I cannot wait to try these! Pumpkin is the best, I’m so excited it is fall

  6. Aly October 3, 2012 / 8:27 am

    holy crap, these look insanely good! maybe even something my non-paleo family members would like during thanksgiving time! thanks for sharing :)

    • paleoinpdx October 3, 2012 / 8:29 am

      Thanks, Aly! Yep, paleo or not, I think these will win many people over … as long as they like pumpkin!

  7. Aly October 3, 2012 / 8:31 am

    Reblogged this on eat. drink. & be paleo. and commented:
    my mouth is drooling, and I just had to share… this will definitely be one to aide my pumpkin obsession (an ex-boyfriend once nicknamed me “pumpkin” after realizing that I had a problem…)

  8. Brandyn Miller October 3, 2012 / 8:30 pm

    Yum! Just made pumpkin porridge this morning. Gotta love fall!

    • paleoinpdx October 3, 2012 / 8:40 pm

      I love it, Brandyn! Pumpkin everything, right? ;)

  9. Lemons 'n Lyme October 10, 2012 / 5:44 pm

    Planning on trying these out this weekend for a pot luck I’m headed too, just wondering how many this recipe makes?

    • paleoinpdx October 10, 2012 / 7:33 pm

      Great! The quantity depends on the size you cut the bars, obviously, but it’ll yield about 16-24 bars. Hope they’re a hit!

      • Lemons 'n Lyme November 1, 2012 / 1:17 pm

        Forgot to tell you I made this the other weekend for that pot luck. Everyone loved them! At first I wasn’t sure, thought they were really sweet, but then I couldn’t stop eating them :). They disappeared FAST

      • paleoinpdx November 1, 2012 / 3:42 pm

        Yay, happy to hear that! The bars get a lot of sweetness from the dates, which is why I use the lesser amount of honey in the bottom layer. So glad you liked them :)

  10. paleofeet October 12, 2012 / 9:32 am

    these look divine! We are having a celebratory end to our 30 day challenge next week and I think I’m gonna bring these for the potluck :)

    • paleoinpdx October 12, 2012 / 9:34 am

      Nice, sounds like a tasty way to wrap up the 30-day challenge ;) Watch out though, they’re addictive!

  11. Erin Hightower October 26, 2012 / 5:37 pm

    I’m finding the date mixture watery …should it be?

    • paleoinpdx October 26, 2012 / 5:47 pm

      No, it shouldn’t be watery. It’s thick like caramel. How much liquid did you add? Always start with the lowest amount and add more if need be. Also, if you use dates that are already pitted, you may need a little less liquid. These dates tend to be smaller than those with pits. My recommendation would be to try pureeing more dates into the mixture.

  12. The Professional Stress Baker November 24, 2012 / 7:21 pm

    These look and sound amazing! I am very new to paleo, so I’m excited to try new recipes! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

    • paleoinpdx November 24, 2012 / 7:30 pm

      Thanks, they taste pretty fabulous too! Welcome to the paleo world, by the way and thanks for the follow :)

  13. Jackie September 21, 2013 / 6:12 pm

    These are so good! First pumpkin recipe this year- delicious AND nutrient dense :)

    • paleoinpdx September 22, 2013 / 10:57 am

      Thanks! I’ve been thinking of making these again soon, especially now that’s officially fall (as of today!) and pumpkin season. So glad you enjoyed them!

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