As you might have guessed, I am a bit of a pumpkin and autumn freak. This recipe was a kind of fever dream that took over me when we had a bag of chocolate chips that was rapidly diminishing and I wanted to make better use of it. I mean, random chips of chocolate are great and all, but why not use it in a recipe in which it contributes to something much bigger than the sum of its parts? I started looking around the kitchen and this rich, over-the-top, yet still kind of wholesome (hey, it’s got apples and pecans) recipe was born.
I realize there are some odd ingredients here, but again, this was using what I had on hand. I can only tell you how it worked for me, but I am guessing that since this is something that just gets baked into a messy bar, rather than something that requires precision, you can modify it based on what you have at home. If you do, please know that you may need to adjust wet-and-dry ratios as well as baking time. Otherwise, why not use this as a template for your baking inspiration? Add walnuts. Take out the apples. Use more of this or that. The point is, I don’t think you can go wrong with this distinctly autumnal treat, full of warming spices and comforting flavors.
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill) ½ cup peanut butter flour baking blend (I used PB Fit) (or more flour) ¼ cup quick-cooking oats ¼ cup pecan pieces, unsalted, toasted 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice blend 1 tablespoon pumpkin powder (optional) 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon dried lemon peel 1 teaspoon cardamom Pinch of salt 1 apple, peeled and cut into chunks (about one cup) ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment in a square baking pan.
Mix everything up to the apples together in a large bowl. Shake the cinnamon over the apple pieces, stir to coat, and add to the large bowl.
½ cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie purée) ½ cup pure maple syrup ½ cup melted vegan butter ¼ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Stir together and add to the dry mix.
1 cup maple, pumpkin or vanilla vegan mini-marshmallows (I used Dandies maple flavor) 1 cup slavery-free, vegan chocolate chips
Stir into the large bowl until distributed.
Spoon and flatten into your lined pan. Bake for 35 - 37 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for ten minutes. Lift the parchment out of the pan and let it cool for another 10 - 20 minutes before you cut this into bars.