Pumpkin and winter squash are among my favorite fall foods! They taste great savory and sweet, and can be made a variety of ways. They are actually starches I can eat right now too, as I currently need to steer clear of any sort of yam, sweet potato or regular potato to continue healing.
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these tasty fall-inspired pumpkin caramel bars. They are decadent! Let me know know what you think, especially about the date caramel!
Update: watch this replay of me making these bars on KATU Afternoon Live in October 2016 here in Portland!
Pumpkin Caramel Bars
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 unsweetened 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
- Mix coconut oil, honey, pumpkin and spices together in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat.
- After several minutes, once the ingredients are mixed together well, remove from heat and mix in the sunflower seed or almond butter and vanilla. Stir until everything is combined.
- Pour into an 8×8 pan or an 8 or 9-inch round baking pan. Place in the freezer to set.
- Meanwhile, get going on the caramel. Add the softened dates to the food processor, along with the water, 4 Tbsp of the coconut milk, sea salt and vanilla. Pulse to combine. If mixture still seems a bit too thick or chunky, add the remaining 1 Tbsp of coconut milk and blend again. Please know, it’s not going to have the same texture as traditional caramel.
- 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!)