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
- 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
- Dash of sea salt
- Mix coconut oil, honey, pumpkin and spices together in a small saucepan on the stove.
- 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.
- 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 dates to the food processor and pulse until they’re broken down.
- 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.
- 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!)