What better way to welcome in Fall than with a recipe for pumpkin bars drizzled with homemade caramel sauce!
So, “Welcome Fall!” with all your beauty adorning trees, chill in the evening air, comfy sweaters, campfires and of course all things pumpkin!
Fall is one of my favorite seasons! We have had warm temperatures here in Michigan and the leaves are just beginning to change color. I notice a few more leaves here and there starting to turn majestic on my morning walks, and know that breathtaking brilliance awaits us!
One thing about myself that I have noticed since my blogging journey began is that I am a truly seasonal eater! Give me a change of season and I will have a major change on my plate! Variety is the spice of life…and nutmeg is the spice of fall! Oh golly!
Let’s talk pumpkin shall we!
I think pumpkin anything is just grand! Yesterday afternoon I got out all of my baking ingredients from the fridge and cupboard and set them on my kitchen counter. Of course I snapped a picture for Instagram and then I began to conjure up ideas of what to bake. I knew it needed to be pumpkin, and I kept thinking about perfecting my caramel sauce…sooo…..I made pumpkin bars with caramel sauce!
Using pecans as a crust for cheesecakes and pumpkin pies has been a favorite of mine for a long time. This time I decided to use that same concept as a bottom layer for bars! Adding in some almond flour helps to give the ground pecans a great texture! The easiest way that I know to get ground pecans is to plop em in my Vitamix on medium, watching carefully as they can turn into a nut butter rather quickly! I like to have a coarse texture to the nuts still, not a gloppy one!
Add in some almond flour, salt, palm sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and of course ghee and mix until everything is combined!
Press this into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan and set aside.
Now it’s time for the star of today’s show! PUMPKIN!
I have roasted my own pie pumpkins in the past more than I have boughten pumpkin in a can, but let’s face it…it’s a busy time in my life right now and I caved to the can! No shame in a can of pumpkin folks, no shame at all!
Place the pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup and spices in a mixing bowl and yep, you guessed it..mix em! We are learning so much together here!
Pour the pumpkin batter over the crust in the pan and lets bake this thing! You want to bake it until a toothpick comes out all nice and clean. Don’t over bake though or you will have cracks and caverns running all through your bars! I guess those could just hold more caramel sauce so hey, maybe it’s not all bad!
Now for the caramel sauce!
This is yet another one of those recipes that I have been working on getting just right for a while! I will give you Matt’s remark as he was my loyal taste tester….”This is seriously legit! Can you really eat this?” Now that was music to my kitchen minded ears! When someone tastes something that is in the realm of food that I can eat and thinks it’s as good or better than the “real deal”, I get pretty excited!
Enough about all this…let’s get to making the caramel sauce and you can see for yourself how good it is!
Starting with a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat add in the palm shortening, ghee, palm sugar and maple syrup. You will want to keep stirring this as it melts due to the fact that you can burn it rather quickly otherwise. I add in a pinch of salt as I stir, it gives you variety while you stand there stirring!
In a few minutes you will notice that that the sauce starts to thicken. Keep stirring! If you see that the oils are separating from the rest of the sauce just whisk rapidly and they should combine again. If not, you can place the sauce in your blender for a minute and then return to the heat. When the sauce is as thick as you would like it to be, remove it from the heat and place in a jar.
This sauce does tend to separate a little bit in the jar. Just give it a stir and you are good again!
Matt actually stood with a spoon in one hand and the jar of caramel in the other, eating one spoonful after another! I’m thinking he liked it!
There are many, many uses for this caramel sauce that we will chat about in the future but for today, we are going to drizzle it over our pumpkin bars!
When the bars are finished baking and have cooled some, drizzle the caramel sauce over the top evenly…or clumpy if you must!
I thought I would top this off with some candied pecans! The way I usually make candied pecans takes a little while to do and I had a softball game to get to! Creating a great shortcut, I placed chopped pecans in a pan over high heat and added cinnamon and maple syrup. Stirring for a minute or two until the syrup got really sticky. Place the candied pecans on some parchment and allow to cool before putting them on top of the bars. As the pecans cool the maple syrup hardens and you get a nice sugary crunch!
Place your beautiful bars in the fridge to cool! We had these for dessert after softball last night. It was a late dessert but a delicious pumpkin dessert just the same!
What are some of your favorite fall desserts that you would like to give a Paleo or Grain Free makeover to? Leave your favorites in the comments below and I will see what I can do!
Have the best day today!
- For the crust:
- 2c pecans
- 1c almond flour
- ½t salt
- 1t cinnamon
- ½c palm sugar
- 2T ghee
- For the pumpkin filling:
- 15oz pumpkin
- ¾c palm sugar
- 4 eggs
- ¼c maple syrup
- 1t cinnamon
- ½t nutmeg
- ¼ t allspice
- For the caramel topping:
- 1T ghee
- 1T shortening
- 1 cup palm sugar
- 2T coconut milk
- pinch of salt
- For the candied pecans:
- ½ cup pecans
- ¼t cinnamon
- 1T maple syrup
- Place the pecans in a Vitamix or food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.
- In a mixing bowl combine the pecans, almond flour, ghee, salt, cinnamon and palm sugar.
- Press into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan and set aside.
- For the pumpkin filling mix together the pumpkin, palm sugar, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice until well combined.
- Pour the pumpkin mixture over the prepared crust and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- While the bars are baking prepare the caramel sauce by melting the ghee, palm shortening, maple syrup, palm sugar, coconut milk and pinch of salt in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture becomes very thick. Remove from heat and place in a jar when cool enough to handle.
- For the candied pecans all you need to do is place ½ cup of pecans in frying pan over high heat, sprinkle cinnamon over top and pour the maple syrup over. Stir constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the pecans to parchment paper and allow to cool.
- Drizzle the caramel sauce over the baked pumpkin bars and top with the candied pecans!