I love everything about coconut; the smell, taste and the overall versatility of this fruit. In recent years, we’ve learned a lot about coconut and its health benefits which is why so many people consume it as part of their daily diet. Everything from coconut oil, sugar, water, flour, and milk is used in my kitchen on a regular basis.
When I had the opportunity to get my hands on Camilla Saulsbury's The Complete Coconut Cookbook, I was excited; an entire cookbook devoted to what Saulsbury describes as “the humble, hairy coconut.” This cookbook offers an overview of the health benefits, how to equipment your coconut pantry and helpful “how-to” tips for cooking with the various ingredients that are all gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free and vegan . The collection of 200 recipes ranges from breakfast, salads, soups, beverages, breads, main dishes and decadent treats.
It finally feels like fall here in Arizona, so I had to go with one of the recipes that called for pumpkin. I’m also a sucker for a sweet treat, so I opted to try the Spiced Pumpkin Bars. After looking at the ingredients, I needed a little help from my friends over at Bob’s Red Mill. Their gluten-free baking options are extensive and impressive; they had the chickpea (garbanzo bean) and coconut flour and the gluten-free baking powder this recipe called for. These perfectly spiced bars turned out great. A nice healthy alternative to your traditional pumpkin pie.
Spiced Pumpkin Bars
(recipe from The Complete Coconut Cookbook)
1 cup coconut sugar
3 tbsp psyllium husk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1/2 cup melted virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup well-stirred coconut milk (full-fat)
2 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut sugar, psyllium, pumpkin, coconut oil, coconut milk and vanilla until well blended. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together chickpea flour, coconut flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir until blended.
4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Use liner to lift from pan. Cut into 12 bars.