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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Grain Free Dairy Free Pumpkin Bars

I think fall is my favourite season of the year. Don’t get me wrong, spring is amazing with all the new growth, and gardening and such. Summer has its moments too, with the hot lazy sunny days, and warm nights spent sitting on the patio. Winter has….lets see, um, snow… and ice… and cold… nope, not really a winter fan! But fall, now fall has it all, with the slight chill in the air, the beautiful fall colours in full splendor, and all the amazing fall produce, apples and  squashes and pumpkins, oh my!! We have these gorgeous little organic pie pumpkins at work right now, and this recipe highlights their flavour beautifully.  I am not generally a raisin fan, but the soaking method I use infuses them with a nice vanilla flavour and plumps them up nicely—no chewy raisins here! (if you would rather chewy raisins, you can skip this step all-together if you wish)

Grain Free Dairy Free Pumpkin Bars
½ cup raisins (I used Thomson Seedless, but feel free to pick what you like!)
½ cup boiling water (enough to cover raisins)
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup pureed roasted pumpkin (see below for cooking methods or use organic canned pumpkin, NOT pie filling!)
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup coconut flour
3 tbsp chickpea flour
2 Tbsp arrowroot flour
2 tbsp ground Chia seeds
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (or ½ tsp dried)
1 tsp baking soda 
pinch of salt
½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375F.
Place raisins and vanilla in a heat proof bowl or glass measuring cup. Cover with boiling water and let stand for at least 10 minutes. Set aside.
Measure the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the pecans into a large mixing bowl. Using an immersion blender, mix all the ingredients together well, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary.
Drain the vanilla water from the raisins (save for another use if you have one!)
Add the drained raisins and the pecans to the batter and mix with a wooden spoon to distribute evenly.
Scrape into a greased or parchment lined 9x13 glass baking pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool before cutting into desired sized bars or squares.

Pumpkin cooking methods:

Crockpot method: My favourite method for a pumpkin of this size could not be easier! Wash off the outside of the pumpkin, and place it  WHOLE into your Crockpot.  DO NOT cut in half, scoop out the seeds, or anything. Just plunk it in. 
Turn the Crockpot on low, and cover with lid. Cook for 6-8 hrs on low or until the pumpkin is soft through.   Remove from crockpot and let cool before cutting in half. Scoop out seeds and set aside if you wish to roast them. Scoop the pumpkin away from the skin, and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Use as desired.
This method works well with smaller squashes too. I often do this before I go out the door to work in the morning, and come home to a perfectly roasted squash!

Oven Roasting Method: Cut pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds and roast, cut side down on a baking sheet for 60-90 minutes, or until soft thru (this will depend on the thickness of your pumpkin).  Cool, scoop and puree as above.

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