Joy in a Pumpkin Square
Let's face it-it's been a year is an understatment. I too feel the anxiety along with the knowledge that I haven't seen my family is closet o a year and a half. It's tough, and quite honestly it makes it difficult to be joyful sometimes. Nevertheless, like the rest of
you, I try to make the best of it-not easy I know, but I choose to keep going and celebrating Thanksgiving like it's 2019!
I find joy in the little things. These pumpkin squares are the little little things with a big payoff. They are simple, elegant, made with natural ingredients and oh so addicitive. So, get yourself a little joy with these beauties!
2/3 cup oil (I used organic canola oil)
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. maple extract
1/2 cup coconut sugar (use regular if that's all you have)
2 cups oat flour
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (with xanthan gum already in mixture)
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups mini choco chips
Chocolate Shell Coating
1 cup mini choco chips
1 tbsp coconut oil
Place wet ingredients along with the coconut sugar in a large bowl and whisk until uniform in color and oil is well incorporated.
Place all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and use a whisk to mix everything together.
Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix. Dough will start to become stiff and should more or less have the consistency of playdough. If the dough is too sticky, then add more flour starting with a tablespoon at a time to achieve desired consistency.
Add chocolate chips. You will probably have to knead them in.
Take a baking sheet-you will need one with a rim. Transfer stiff dough to baking sheet and press down into the pan making sure you get the corners-you can push the dough up the sides to create a wonderfully crunchy crust.
Make sure the dough is evenly distributed throughout the pan. If if looks a little puffier in some areas use a rolling pin briefly to flatten it out.
Sugar hack #1
Because I cut the sugar down A LOT-here's a little hack. Take a tsp. of regular sugar and sprinkle it all across the top. Your tongue instantly tastes the sugar and thinks its sweeter than it is. I do this in many baked good where I dramatically reduce the sugar.
Sugar Hack #2- I like to use coconut sugar because it has smoky, sweet taste that is sweeter than regular sugar thereby allowing me to dramatically cut the overall sugar. Also, coconut sugar isn't processed like regular sugar.
Place in 350 degree oven
Bake for 30-35 minutes ( a bit longer if you like it crunchy like me).
Chocolate Shell Coating
While your bars are cooling-make the chocolate shell. This must use coconut oil-can't use any replacements because coconut oil hardens at room temp and other oils do not. If you are allergic to coconut-then just melt the chocolate and drizzle or coat-it won't be as hard but it will still be delicious.
Melt chocolate chips in 30 second intervals in the microwave. You can turn the bowl with each interval so it melts evenly. DO NOT MELT IT ALL AT ONCE! It will burn and become basically uselss. You want nice creamy ribbons. Takes about 3-4 intervals.
You can drizzle this or you can spread it all over. I like the thick shell so I spread it.
Place in freezer for 10 minutes to harden and then cut into squares or triangles.
Don't leave it to harden in the freezer too long-it will crack when cutting it. Take it out, cut it and put in a container back in freezer. They freeze very well.
*If you want to make this with regular unbleached flour-it is cup for cup. So 3 1/2 cups of regular flour. However, the recipe will be puffier/cakier because of the gluten in the flour.
** Please remember that not all oat flours are gluten free. Oats are gluten free by default, but where they are grown and how they are packaged can contaminate them. If you require gluten free for serious conditions please make sure your oat flour clearly states on the bag GLUTEN FREE!