Candy

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HELLO! I am not back from the dead, although it kinda seems like it around here. I took a pause…to work a bunch, to eat a bunch and, of course, to cook a bunch! What has changed?

The Changes

  • I’m a little healthier {I only ate 3 giant muffins this week and am no longer scared of a treadmill…sorta.}
  • I drink more water {not sure why I told you that}
  • My job title has changed twice {yes, twice in one week, actually}
  • I have a new fire for cooking and sharing with you {I’ve got to start blogging again because I almost blew up the microwave yesterday}

October is almost over, and there are 6 beautiful cans of pumpkin puree in my pantry, beckoning to be molded into a decadent, delicious creation. I have an assortment of organic squash and such to go crazy with, too. And, if you’ve poked around this space at all, I love to take a recipe (or 4 or 5) and merge them and healthify them, based on which ingredients are already in my kitchen. This pumpkin bar is a lazy woman’s approach to a traditional pumpkin pie. And I love all of that delicious, sweet filling but the store-bought crusts leave much to be desired. The shortbread crust and the nutty taste throughout more than make up for the quick, tastier version of a pie. Let’s go!

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Nutty Pumpkin Bars

Sitting on an almond shortbread crust, these Fall treats are sure to please even your nuttiest neighbors and loved ones during the season. Serve warm with English breakfast tea or chilled for a sweet snack. The best part? All original needs for cream are replaced with Coconut Almond milk, which gives an essence of tropical coconut to an already complex, warm pumpkin flavor. Party on your tongue! And, not, there not much to look at, but my job is making tasty stuff. You can pipe some buttercream or cream cheese frosting on them for pretty effect, if you like!

Makes 18 cupcake-sized bars or one 9X13 pan

Almond Shortbread:

1/2 cup almond slivers

1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (110 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Step One: Line/grease 18 muffin cups or a 9X13 pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, chop the almonds to a ground meal, then add flour and salt and blend. Set aside.

Step Two: In a mixer (or using your hand and a spoon), cream butter and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes, or until fluffy. Add vanilla and blend. Then, add flour mixture and blend into a dough.

Step Three: Press dough into bottom of muffin cups or baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until semi-firm to the touch like a soft cookie (not doughy). While waiting for it to bake, make the pumpkin filling.

Pumpkin Filling:

2 large eggs

1 – 15 ounce can (425 grams) pure pumpkin (2 cups)

3/4 cup (165 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) coconut almond milk

Step Four: In the mixer, blend eggs. Add pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and all spices and mix until blended. Lastly, add the milk and blend until smooth.

Step Five: When the shortbread is semi-firm, distribute pumpkin filling into the cups (3/4 full). Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden and pumpkin is firm to the touch (not runny or jiggly). Let cool for 5 minutes before running knife around the edges before removing from the pan(s).

Serve warm or chilled. Ice cream on top doesn’t hurt a thing.


Adapted from Source: Joy of Baking

HAPPY HALLOWEEK, LOVELIES!

~Laurel

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