September 18, 2014

Autumn Cravings: TWO Homemade Pumpkin Bars! Both regular and sugar free

It's blurry - eh. It's not about the photo... it's about the food!  :)

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I've been thinking about pumpkin bars.  It's that time of year when my body starts to crave pumpkin.  (Odd since I did not grow up in a house that ate pumpkin in any way, shape or form except sometimes a pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving - which I never liked nor ate).  But my first bite of a pumpkin bar was at the cookie and punch reception in the school gym after an elementary school concert.  Pumpkin bars, spice bars... the things little children normally don't 'go for' I went for!  My first bite was heaven and I've loved pumpkin and spice 'things' (cake, pie, bars, cookies, muffins, rolls, coffee drinks, pumpkin squash pasta)  ever since.

This is a great three layer pumpkin bar that you could make sugar free if you have a sugar free cake mix on hand and use natural sweeteners instead of the brown sugar and sugar.  I'll link to those options from online retailers below this post in case you can't get them where you live.  I can find sugar free cake mixes at *some* Walmarts (but not all) and I used to find them at my local Publix but they discontinued them within the last 4 months. 

Triple Layer Pumpkin Bars

1 yellow cake mix, divided. Save 1 cup out for top.
1/2 c real butter
1 egg

2 eggs
3/4 c milk
20 oz. pumpkin
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla - liquid or powder
2 t pumpkin pie spices

1 cup of the dry cake mix reserved from bottom layer
1/4 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c butter

Combine the bottom layer ingredients; dry cake mix, butter and egg.  Press into a 9X13" pan or the equivalent sized pan.  I used 10X10.  Mix together the filling ingredients by hand, whisk or electric.  When blended smooth spread over the bottom layer.  Mix together the reserved 1 cup dry cake mix with the sugar, cinnamon and butter.  When crumbly, sprinkle over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  Cool completely and preferably chill before cutting. 

Sugar Free, Low Carb Pumpkin Bars

3/4 c almond flour
1/4 c coconut flour
2 t oat flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
2/3 c pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c Brown Sugar substitute
3/4 c granular sugar free sweetener of your choice
1 1/2 t vanilla

In a bowl mix the almond, coconut and oat flours with the baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, just use about 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 t ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.  In another bowl mix the pumpkin, eggs and oil.  Add the sugar substitutes and vanilla.  Pour into a greased pan of your choice.  10X10", 12X8", 8X8" - the bigger the pan, the thinner the bar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-40 minutes depending on how big of a pan you used. 

Cool Completely.  Frost with a basic cream cheese frosting.  You mix one version up by beating together 8 oz. cream cheese with  3 T butter, 2 t vanilla, 1/4 c sugar substitute (I used Just Like Sugar and Ideal Brown Sugar** - mixed together, with about 10 drops liquid sweetener).   Refrigerate. 

** Unfortunately it seems Ideal has stopped making their brown sugar style sweetener.  Which is too bad because it was my favorite.  I now use the Just Like Sugar brand brown (which you find the link on Amazon below if you need it)

Some products you might be interested in that are used in the above recipes;

Pillsbury Moist Supreme Sugar Free Classic Yellow Premium Cake Mix (Pack of 2)
 Ideal No Calorie Sweetener
Just Like Sugar Brown Sweetener

Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour, 16 oz
Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Flour

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