Chai Spice Pumpkin Pie Bars

Fall is approaching!! As the leaves begin to change consider making a lovely fall treat to share with friends, co-workers and family that’s beautiful, delicious, and healthy! Date sweetened, refined sugar free, vegan, gluten free, whole 30, paleo, and with a nut free option, these bars can work for those with allergies and with picky tastebuds. The three layers of fall flavors in these bars make one scrumptious and comforting treat without the sugar crash!

This recipe may appear lengthy but in reality the only ingredients you need are coconut butter, coconut oil, dates, pecans, almond butter, spices+sea salt (that are probably already in your kitchen), almond flour, and a sweet potato. In order to keep your costs down, find 5 of these 8 ingredients in the bulk section of your grocery store and purchase only as much as this recipe calls for!IMG_1851

Pecan Chai Crust layer:
-1/2 cup almond flour
-2 tbs chai spice
-1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil
-3 chopped and pitted medjool dates
-1 cup of chopped pecans + 10 whole pecans
-1 cup almond butter
-1 tsp sea salt

1. In a food processor or blender combine almond flour, sea salt and chai spice for a few seconds until the mixture is a uniform color and well blended. Next add the pecans and dates and grind them into the mixture until it becomes crumbly (it should look relatively uniform and still dry but should not be as smooth as nut butter). Finally add almond butter and softened coconut oil (not liquid). When the mixture reaches a chunky dough like texture remove and press evenly onto the plastic wrap at the bottom of your dish, spread 10 whole pecans evenly across the crust and press lightly, then freeze.

Pumpkin Pie Layer:
-10 oz coconut butter, warmed into a very thick smooth liquid
-1 medium sweet potato pricked with a fork and microwaved 4 minutes (you know it’s ready when skin falls off easily.) Remove all skin.
-1 Tbs coconut oil
-2 pitted, chopped medjool dates
-2 tbs pumpkin pie spice
-1 tsp sea salt
-1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

Surprise! The secret ingredient in these bars is Sweet Potato! Pumpkin is naturally slightly bitter and calls for a lot of sugar to balance the flavor. I used a naturally sweet yam so no added sugar was necessary! While your Crust is freezing, rinse out your food processor and get ready to blend again! Add skinned sweet potato, coconut oil, dates, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt (protein powder as well if you choose) to your food processor. Grind it all up until you’ve got a smooth dark orange sweet potato mixture. Your softened coconut butter should resemble a consistency even thicker than honey, pouring out slowly with the help of a spoon. Add it into the food processor and blend until you have a uniform orange color. Retrieve the cooling crust from the freezer and press your sweet potato layer with cookie dough like texture evenly on top of your crust and freeze!

Coconut icing layer:
-8 oz Melted coconut butter (honey consistency)
-3 Tbs melted coconut oil

Now for the last and simplest layer! I poured the completely melted warm coconut oil into the jar with the coconut butter and mixed with a spoon. Pour this layer over your sweet potato layer so that it hides all the orange color and spreads out to the sides of your pan, and freeze!

It is very important to use plastic wrap to line the base of the dish so that the treat is easy to remove after freezing. Any shape or size of baking dish will work with this recipe. I used a 9×13 glass one.

After each layer is in evenly smoothed out in the baking dish, place in freezer while mixing the next layer. To recap, we first made and froze the crust layer, then layered on pumpkin pie, froze, and repeated with coconut icing. The bars taste best if they have been allowed at least 6 hours to freeze through and are slightly thawed (about 10 minutes at room temp) before munching! If you can eat pretzels, I think they would be an AMAZING addition to this dish!! I recommend Artisana Coconut Butter (it’s less expensive if you order online at Thrive Market)

Happy September and Happy Snacking!

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