Fudgy chocolate pumpkin bars (GF, oil free, dairy free, refined sugar free) with cinnamon date cream (or fruit dip)
I wasn't going to post this/these recipe(s) but I am. The bars were going to be vegan, but they're not (2 eggs). In case you haven't noticed, I'm a whole lot more flexible about preconceived plans these days.
I can't tell honestly say, you must try these bars. I'm more comfortable with, you might want to give these a try, with or without the cream. I can wholeheartedly say however, if you haven't already tried this date cream as a fruit dip (for those occasions when even delicious-as-is fruit could use a little fancy company), do. As long as you like dates and cinnamon, that is. And if you do, just be wary of being around your "dip" with spoon in hand, or it could easily be devoured like pudding.
The whole process of creating these was kind of calmly haphazard, a blend of sleepy but focused autopilot and science experiment, which is not all that unlike a lot of my day-to-day much of the time. You could also say it was backwards. I wanted something to go with the date cream...which was originally conceptualized for frosting but sloppily executed. Stubbornly stirring all the ingredients in the bowl too late at night, I nicknamed the cake-t0-be as "zombie cake" and thought, this is going to be awful.
Which it was. Pretty much awful. I know because I sampled a forkful off the corner when the edges were just baked. It was awful enough that I felt compelled to re-mix the whole concoction in the pan with 1/2 cup dark chocolate, and wallah! It was so much better. The things that can be cured with dark chocolate!
The next day, I eyed the pan warily. I tasted, and wasn't quite sure. Not blown away...but I found myself nibbling again. And again. And then I hid those bars and that date cream in the fridge. But not before Little Monkey begged a try.
What happened next is why this is a post in the first place. He loved the bars! Plain, and even the parts where NO chocolate got mixed in (which was most of what he was given)! "Mo bahrs, mo bahrs, pleeze," he kept repeating, with little hops and outstretched arms. Who could resist? And then, just as surprisingly, Dave came home and loved them, too (only he had them with the date cream).
Thumbs up from skeptical (sometimes) hubby and toddler? Plus, no refined sugar (beyond what's in your dark chocolate), no gluten unless you want some (which would be fine), no oil, no dairy. Bonus, like all my favorite recipes right now, so easy. Throwing everything in one bowl without a care really about over or under mixing, feels like making potions or mud pies as a kid. Guess this one's worth keeping, after all.
Fudgy chocolate pumpkin bars (GF, dairy free, oil free, refined sugar free)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup extra dark cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or melted dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Batter will look similar to prepared brownie mix.
- Use a spatula to spread batter into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until edges are firm. (Center will still be remain moist but shouldn't be runny.) Cut into squares and serve with cinnamon date cream (below), or not. ;)
Cinnamon date cream/fruit dip
- 1 15-ounce can coconut milk (full fat is creamier but light will work)
- approximately 10 Medjool dates
- generous shake ground cinnamon (about 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon)
Blend all ingredients together until smooth.