Monday, 8 September 2014

Healthy Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares




I love pumpkin pie. And cheesecake. But neither of these things currently agree with my old angry fickle tummy.

I discovered canned pumpkin a few years ago (yes, only a few!) and I put it in EVERYTHING.


In my oatmeal, in pancakes, in yogurt, in shakes and smoothies in my protein shake in EVERY. THING.















In my final year of undergrad on the thanksgiving long weekend I went to open a can of pumpkin in the way I usually do -- with our old decrepit electric can opener that could seldom open a whole can at a time.

When it crapped out, as it usually does, I decided... Hmmm... I can just tear that last bit off, yah? No problem!


And tear I did.



And then I saw blood. Everywhere blood. Dripping everywhere.



MOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



My mom ran downstairs. She screamed and called my grandma who screamed. That woke up my grandpa who yelled. That woke up my uncle who screamed and ran to my house.



Moral of the story is going to the emergency room on a holiday majorly sucks but they treat you really nice even if you are ...lucky...enough to need 8 stitches on your thumb for trying to be a hero.


Needless to say I have been on a pumpkin hiatus since.


It has been a couple of years and I feel much more at ease with my new can opener (thanks Mom!) that is MANUAL.


What as I talking about before....OH YAH!
















Pumpkin and cheesecake.



These bars are UNREAL.


Sweet, creamy, delicious with a hint of warm spice that screams -- YIPPEE IT'S FALL IT'S FALL...


Unless of course you are Canadian because -- what is summer anyway, am I right?


I developed this recipe with a hope of capturing a powerful pumpkin flavour balanced with a wholesome base and creamy topping.















Healthy -- without sugar or gluten! And it's low in carbohydrates as well! Plus fiber from the pumpkin! MMM.. FIBER!


Let's see this simple but delicious recipe, shall we?







Healthy Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares

Yields 16 Squares/Bars 


Ingredients:



For Base:

  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup pecans, finely ground 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey or other liquid sweetener
*For a thicker cookie like (still raw) base check out my no bake blueberry cheesecake recipe 



For Filling:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1/2 cup light cream cheese, non-dairy cream cheese product, or cashew 'cheese' that is softened at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, honey or other liquid sweetener
  • 1/4 cup peanut flour
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or equal amounts cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg)
  • Splash of vanilla extract 
*You can also double to cream cheese amount to 1 cup for a firmer bar -- with 1/2 cup it is more of a mousse texture!


For Cheesecake Layer (optional):

  • 1/4 cup light, regular or vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips, melted 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted 


Directions:


For Base:


  1. Combine ground pecans, oat flour and liquid ingredients in a small bowl until fully combined
  2. Press base in the bottom of an 8x8 square pan lined with plastic wrap or aluminum foil
  3. Press firmly into corners and ensure base is as even as possible!

For Filling:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together until fully combined
  2. Spoon over base layer spread as evenly as possible
  3. Let set in the fridge for at least 1 hour before adding next layer

For Cheesecake Layer 


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together until fully combined -- if it looks like it will curdle be patient and mix a few seconds longer until smooth
  2. Spoon on top of bars and smooth with a back of a spoon until there is a thin layer on top
  3. If you so desire, add chopped pecans, shaved white chocolate or toffee bits while the cheesecake layer is still wet 
  4. Set bars in fridge for at least 1-2 hours but preferably over night to set
  5. Cut into 16 squares and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, a hot cup of tea, ice cream or all of the above!



Et voila! Like I mentioned in the ingredients -- if you double the cream cheese you get a firmer bar but I like it as a more creamy and soft mousse texture with the 1/2 cup.


It melts in your mouth and is oh so luxurious. Eat it with a fork so you feel PROPER!










I really love the pecans with the pumpkin, spices and cream cheese flavours but you can use any nut you like! Walnuts would work really well, too!


I love that because these are no-bake they are EASY and keep that beautiful vibrant orange colour.












My family adored these bars. So sweet and creamy. Very comforting. And with such a simple ingredients list you can eat 5. I meant not feel bad...Uhhh...












I am so thrilled to have pumpkin in my life again! I am also very excited for the Fall. Fall to me is fashion forward, comfortable and cozy. And involves family time carving pumpkins... AND HALLOWEEN OMG. I freak out at Halloween. It is my favourite holiday and gives me an excuse to dress up and watch scary movies which I love to do all year round anyways. They are putting out Halloween decor now and I am THRILLED!















I know you ALSO want to go buy some pumpkin and make these bars. I cannot wait to show you more pumpkin recipes!


Any suggestions? I would love to hear from you! It will be fall-mania over here! I cannot wait! Apples and pumpkin and warm spices....Ahhhh. Yes. I cannot wait!









So go on and make these, share, laugh, cuddle and sip on some tea. And report back to me, of course.



Happy Pumpkin Picking!


XO 

2 comments:

  1. I stumbled across your blog via Sortedfood and I must say I'm in love already!

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    1. Thank you so much! I am so happy you found me/my blog! And thank you for the comment -- that's how I found out they posted my picture! :D

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