Pumpkin Pie Bars (gf, sugar-free, & almost dairy-free).

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So October is here! Wait, what? I’m not sure what happened, but one week it was gorgeous and sunny and the next it turned to rain-city and the town was busting out their waterproofs. But can I tell you a secret? No matter how much I loathed the rain this past spring and was ready for sun, I’m kinda diggin’ the chill. I have, however, come to the conclusion that I need to cave and add some essentials to my wardrobe. Last winter I broke down and bought waterproof snow boots. This year? I’ve bought some yoga-type leggings (super warm & comfy!) and a proper winter jacket. Figuring out how to live in the PNW (ahem, Pacific North West) has been such a great challenge for me. And really, I think I am turning into a PNW gal. Can’t help but adore these mountains, the beauty, & the air here. I have been guilty in the past for judging people who wear active wear when they don’t need it, because frankly, I have known people who wear it just to show off the fact they do, indeed, go on adventures occasionally. However, here it’s a necessity if you want to leave the house. So I’m sorry if I ever judged you for bundling up properly. Come over to my house and I’ll make you these pumpkin pie bars to make it up to you.I made these for a girls’ night that was complete with hot tea, munchies, & really good conversation. I have a few friends who have special diets for health reasons, & I don’t want them to miss out on any of the fun or deliciousness! Making a dish that is gf, sugar-free, & mostly dairy-free makes it a) suitable for everyone, b) a health food, & c) breakfast. I actually love challenging myself to be creative & not rely on creaming butter & sugar & adding flour to make something delicious (although, there is so a time & a place for that!).
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Dates & almonds are part of the crowd in this delicious crust.
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Pulsed in a food processor & pressed into a 8×8.
Yum.
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Pumpkin. The first of the season gets me giddy! & it smells sodanggood.Also, I didn’t include any pictures of the creamy pumpkin filling, because really, it always taste good & never looks appetizing. I thought I would spare you and skip to the good part.
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The nutty, cinnamon crumble on top is always the good part . . . amiright?!
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It’s pumpkin season. Don’t fight it. Get into it!Pumpkin Pie Bars (gf, sugar-free, & almost dairy-free)
makes one 8×8 panfor the crust:
1 1/2 c. almonds (I used raw unsalted, but you can probably use whatever you have handy)
1 c. dates, pitted
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 tsp. sea salt (use less if your almonds are salted)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

for the filling: 
1 1/4 c. pumpkin (I used canned, but if you want to get fancy & roast your own, go for it! mad props for your obvious skills)
3/4 c. cashews, soaked*
1/3 c. maple syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of sea salt
*I boiled a few cups of water, poured the boiling water over the cashews in a bowl, and let them sit for 20 minutes to soften up. 

for the crumble topping*:
2/3 c. almonds
1/3 c. dates, pitted
1/4 brown rice flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
pinch sea salt
maple syrup for drizzling
* I have also made this step joined with the crust step, then simply set aside what I need for the topping. Just don’t forget to set some aside if you do this! You’ll be sorry.  

P.S. That’s not a threat. I just don’t want to see you sad. 

To make the crust:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse & process the almonds and the dates until finely ground, but not to a powder. You will want some texture in there! Dump into a bowl, & add the cubes of butter. Mix with a pastry cutter or quickly with your fingers. You don’t want the butter to get melty. Add the maple syrup & distribute evenly. Add the brown rice flour, sea salt, cinnamon, & ground ginger until evenly distributed. Dump into an 8×8 baking dish and press firmly with your fingers until the crust is even. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, we are going to make some cashew cream! Wipe out your food processor with a paper towel, then add your cashews with a couple/few tablespoons of their soaking water. Add a couple, process, then see how much more water you need to add, & add it by the tablespoon. You will have a creamy texture very similar to whipped cream cheese. Once that is done, add to a bowl with the rest of your filling ingredients and whisk away!

Once your crust is out of the oven, pour your filling mixture onto your crust. Add your crumble topping. Place back into the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it won’t jiggle in the middle. Once it is done, remove from the oven & drizzle some maple syrup on top. Let set for about 30 minutes before serving.

To store, wrap in an airtight container & keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

It won’t last that long. Trust.

Inspiration: Deliciously EllaJoy the Baker, my friends, & autumn.
Listening to: rain.

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