It’s a couple weeks late but I can’t let Thanksgiving pass without a post acknowledging it. Loving food enough to devote a blog to it, it’s no surprise that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. My family has had a couple different traditions over the years, but the most recent years we’ve spent at my Uncle and Aunt’s house. My aunt is an incredible cook, so I always look forward to any meal at her house, but especially Thanksgiving. Food aside, I love spending the afternoon/evening with my family all in one place. This year I was only responsible for bringing my favorite cornbread, without which it just isn’t Thanksgiving, and I offered to bring a dessert as well.
The process of choosing what to bake always takes longer for me than the act of baking itself. I have a constantly growing list of recipes I want to try, so when it comes time to bake it’s hard picking which one to make first. This year though, my decision was easy. Earlier this fall, my aunt posted a “magic” pumpkin bars recipe on my Facebook page from one of our favorite blogs, and I had been waiting for the opportunity to try them. Making a few tweaks and changes to meet my family’s range of dietary needs and preferences, I was excited to see how they would turn out.
While baking something “tried and true” can be more relaxing and predictable, there’s something exhilarating about trying a new recipe waiting to see the final result. The only downside is the frustration when your expectations don’t quite meet the reality… When my bars first came out of the oven I was concerned they were a total flop. While the sides of the bars were turning a nice golden brown, the pumpkin didn’t quite seem to set. Frustrated at the time I had spent and the “waste” of ingredients, and concerned that I now wouldn’t have a dessert to bring, I put the dish in the freezer hoping that they would either set or at least just be out of sight.
When it was time to walk over to my aunt and uncle for dinner, I almost forgot about the bars in the freezer. I quickly grabbed them before walking out the door, strongly tempted to leave them behind. When it was time to bring out the desserts after dinner, I brought the dish to the table and haphazardly cut them into bars, warning my family that were being served untasted.
To my surprise… I did not get the reactions I expected. After hearing every one rave about the bars, I finally one myself. Perfectly sweet, with a cinnamon filled chew, these bars really were something special. I’m excited to make them again, and who knows, they may become a new Thanksgiving tradition.
Pumpkin Treat Bars
- 1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk, about 1⅔ cups
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups gluten free honey graham cracker* crumbs (about 14 crackers pulverized in a food processor)
- 6 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted
- 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, Grade A or Grade B
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¾ cup raw slivered almonds