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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Not So Sinful Pumpkin Bars

Despite the snow thats currently falling out side, it is still technically fall. Doesn't look (or feel) like it, I know. But I figured what better way to keep everyone in the fall spirit, than with a tasty pumpkin recipe?

These little beauties are absolutely delicious, and easily under 80 calories per bar. Which for some people means an awesome low-cal dessert, but I take it as "yay I can eat like 5". Whichever way you take the low calorie count of this snack, don't worry- I won't judge ;)

These bars are just a simple pumpkin cake bar. When I was first making them I expected the texture to be more of a brownie, but they're quite moist. The frosting is a simple low-fat cream cheese frosting, and the little tang of the cream cheese goes fantastically with the warm pumpkin.

Here's the ingredients for the bar batter :
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flower
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 medium-sized eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/6 cup agave nectar
  • 2 small cans (15 oz each) of pumpkin puree
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Truvia to taste (I used about 6 packets)
And here's what you'll need for the cream-cheese icing:
  • 2 T almond flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 oz vanilla yogurt
  • One block of reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp almond milk
  • 2 T agave
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • Truvia to taste

First you're going to want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I always forget that part! 

Put the flour (both kinds) the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Then sift them all together.

In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients- eggs, applesauce, olive oil, and agave. Then dump in the pumpkin and mix until its smooth. 

Add brown sugar and vanilla to the bowl of wet ingredients, and then add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ones. Note- you should use a pretty big bowl for the dry ingredients just so everything will fit! 

After you have thurougly mixed everything together, add the Truvia to taste. And by taste, I mean taste the batter :) Its part of baking! Don't be afraid to eat the batter!

Once the batter is to your liking, spread it out evenly in a greased/oiled pan. I used a 9x13 pan, but use whatever fits your fancy!

Proceed to bake for 20-30 minutes. I left mine in for about 26. To see if they're done, put a toothpick in the middle of the pan, and if it comes out clean you're all done!

While the bars are in the oven, go ahead and prepare the frosting. This is the simple part- you just mix everything from the list above together evenly in a bowl, and pop it in the fridge! Make sure you try it before though, to make sure you've got enough Truvia in there. Again, I used about 5 or 6 packets. It sounds like a lot, but remember its for the entire pan!

Put the frosting in the fridge, to let it sit up, and let the bars cool completely. If you put the frosting on while they're still warm, it will melt! Once the frosting is on, sprinkle some cinnamon on top (because its both delicious and pretty), and then cut them into tiny squares. I cut mine to be about an inch on each side, because I was going to take them into the hospital with me. But again, whatever works for you! 

Keep them in the fridge until you're ready to eat them. The bars will go a little soft, otherwise because of the frosting. 

Overall, these turned out delicous. They were very moist, so next time I'll add a bit more flour to them, but they were certainly a fan favorite at the hospital! And the few I left at home were definitely appreciated by mom for their low-cal quality. They're great for having around the house for a late fall treat, or to take to a potluck!

I'm denying the existence of winter for as long as possible, in case you couldn't tell. We've already gotten a decent amount of snow here, and they're calling for more this weekend, so I have a feeling my resistance won't last much longer.

I hope you all had wonderful thanksgivings though, and are enjoying the season! I'm about to dig into some chinese food from the place up the street. Mom's out to dinner with friends, so Dad & I are splurging! :) We're so sneaky.

Stay warm, friends!

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