Four times a year, we experience the glorious changing of the seasons. And four times a year, we change our palate and celebrate the arrival of new vegetables and fruits at our favorite farmer’s markets and grocery stores.
Though summer is probably my favorite season, fall is definitely my favorite food season. Pumpkin has become my autumn obsession and for the last two weeks, I have been thinking about new pumpkin recipes I want to try and old pumpkin recipes I want to enjoy again.
Pumpkin pudding. Pumpkin pie smoothie. Maple pumpkin custard. Roasted pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin custard. One of the reasons I have come to love pumpkin so much is that several years ago, I started roasting my own sugar pie pumpkins and it makes all of the difference in the world.
As I strolled the grocery store the other day, I turned the corner in the produce department and my eyes landed on the organic sugar pie pumpkins. Yes, organic, and I struggled to conceal my excitement.
I grabbed the best looking, robust pumpkin I could find and smiled like a precocious, hungry cat who just caught its first mouse. In South Texas, the sugar pie pumpkins show up at the end of September and I buy one every week or so. I roast them and store the puree in the freezer, because by the time Thanksgiving arrives, the sugar pie pumpkins are gone from the stores and markets. This happened to me one year and I swore it would never happen again.
Fresh Pumpkin vs Canned Pumpkin
Last week, I tried a new pumpkin bar recipe and succumbed to purchasing a can of organic pumpkin, as suggested in the recipe. Then I made the recipe again with fresh pumpkin and the results were astoundingly better.
But don’t take my word for how good these bars are, I made them as a “thank you” for a teenage neighbor boy who brought in our newspaper while we were out of town. He gave the bars a highly coveted stamp of approval from a difficult-to-please and athletic 13-year-old boy. His mother returned the baking dish with this note attached.
Whether you enjoy these bars as a light dessert, with a cup of rich and steaming coffee, top it with a bit of whipped cream or simply eat it as a quick breakfast, let these moist and flavorful pumpkin bars help you celebrate the official arrival of fall this week.
Grain-Free Pumpkin Bars
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 pastured eggs
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir the almond butter and the pumpkin puree to blend. Add the eggs, honey and maple syrup and whisk to combine. Then sprinkle in the pumpkin spice, salt, baking soda and vanilla and stir well. If using nuts, add them in now and toss to combine.
Grease an 8x8 baking dish with a teaspoon of coconut oil or butter and, using your fingers, coat the dish thoroughly. Now pour the batter in and bake 30 minutes.
Cool and serve. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or alongside a cup of tea or coffee or as a healthy breakfast. Refrigerate any leftovers.