Grain Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

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The leaves are changing colors in the mountains, the nights are getting cooler....it must be time for pumpkins! As October approaches there's a few things that you just can't help but notice. 1) Halloween costumes and decorations have taken over every store. (Seriously? Pretty soon they're going to start pushing Halloween right after the 4th of July!)  2) Everyone starts craving warm comfort food like bread and soup, and 3) pumpkins are finding they're way onto front porches and into our dinner and dessert dishes.

Speaking of dessert, my mom makes the best pumpkin squares. Every fall she busts out a can of pumpkin puree and whips up this yummy dessert. We already know how good pumpkin is for you with those antioxidants and vitamins found in dark orange fruits and vegetables. Since my mission in the kitchen is to create gluten free food that also has no refined sugar, and will overall be something healthy to fuel my family, I had to make a few changes to mom's original.

I wanted a similar look, feel, and taste that I love about mom's pumpkin squares, just without the flour and sugar. This grain free version is dairy free, gluten free, and Paleo. After a little time in the oven these pumpkin squares come out soft, spongy, and won't dry out easily like so many other gluten free desserts.

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*If you have pumpkin on the brain too, here's my recipe for a gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Here's how I converted this classic dessert into a sweet, healthy, and grain free treat:

The Original                                              The Conversion 

1 - 2/3 cup granulated sugar ---------------> 2/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup vegetable oil -------------------> 1 cup almond butter

2 cups white flour -------------------> 1/3 cup coconut flour

milk chocolate chips ----------------> dark chocolate chips

Pure maple syrup (not maple-flavored syrup) is full of vitamins and minerals that can boost your immune system, but also packs a kick of natural sucrose (yes that's sugar). Fortunately, you can cut your sugar intake by using half as much maple syrup in place of regular cane sugar. I used even less than that and this dessert still tasted just as sweet!

Almond Butter that has been ground using raw, unsalted almonds will provide you with protein, fiber, and healthy fat. In this recipe I used almond butter to replace not only the vegetable oil, but also a majority of the flour. The consistency of almond butter allows it to be very versatile in baking. I tried these with peanut butter as well and my husband went crazy for them! Either kind of nut butter works.

Coconut Flour gives this recipe that spongy quality. Coconut flour is simply dried coconut meat that has been ground and is an excellent gluten free flour substitute. Although coconut and wheat flour CANNOT be swapped in a 1:1 ratio, coconut is great to add to a flour blend, especially one that includes a nut flour or nut butter.

When using coconut flour remember this simple rule: 1/4 cup coconut to 1 cup wheat flour ratio + extra eggs.

This isn't an exact science, as you can tell, I didn't use a full half cup coconut flour to replace the 2 cups wheat flour called for. Since nut flours/nut butters play so nicely together with coconut flour, you have a little more leeway in your measurements when you combine the two.

Alright, enough talk. On to the recipe!

 

 

 Grain Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs, beaten

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup almond butter or peanut butter

1 - 16 oz. can pumpkin puree

1/3 cup coconut flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. finely ground sea salt or pink salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all the ingredients using an electric mixer. Pour the pumpkin mixture into a parchment paper lined 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool before cutting into squares. Store in a container in the fridge.

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Enjoy!

Food Lamor by Melissa

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Friday, 16 November 2018

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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