Remember when I made Gluten-Free Low Fat Vegan Chocolate Snack Cake?? You guys went crazy over that recipe! Of course, so did I, because it was SO good. Moist texture, fudgy and bursting with real chocolate flavor you just can’t get in any ol’ snack cake recipe.
So, with fall just around the corner, it’s time to make (and eat) all things pumpkin, and I don’t mind one bit! I love pumpkin in savory and sweet treats, but one of my favorite every year are these super-simple pumpkin bars. They are gluten-free, of course, but I used some of the same tricks I used in that chocolate snack cake to in these bars to make them a little healthier (so we can eat more of them). ;-)
First, we use an entire can of organic pumpkin for a BIG pumpkin flavor. It adds moisture, too, and eliminates the need for added fat. You can get more tips on using fruit purees to reduce fat in your baked goods here.
Next, instead of a pre-make spice blend, we add cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Not too much, just enough to add foundation flavor and give a bit of integrity to the fall flair these bars have. It works so well with a bit of salt to enhance the sweet taste, too.
Speaking of sweetness, pumpkin is naturally so sweet that we only need 1/2 cup of sugar here. I use this organic coconut sugar for more of that rich flavor associated with fall: caramel and nutty undertones. Oh, yeah! The healthy dose of pure vanilla extract helps, too. You can’t go wrong with a tablespoon of good vanilla like this one in your baked goods. Don’t be shy with it!!
Of course, we love chocolate, and pumpkin + chocolate = angelic autumn eats, so these bars get dressed up with 1/2 cup of mini allergen-free choco chips. Use any you like, but we love these because no worries about food allergens or cross-contamination, ever. I add a few extra on top to complete the look, which does indeed work for fall, or for Halloween. You can feel good about serving these to your little gobblins or to anyone, they’re so wholesome and delish!
Gluten-Free Low Fat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars
1/2 cup organic coconut sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
15-ounce can organic pumpkin (this is my favorite)
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I use gluten-free, allergen-free chocolate chips from Enjoy Life Foods)
Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly grease a rectangular baking pan (either 9×13-inch or 11×7-inch for slightly thicker bars)
In a mixing bowl, whisk dry ingredients together, then add remaining ingredients except chocolate chips. Stir to combine until no dry ingredients are visible.
Fold in chocolate chips, spread batter in prepared pan and bake 20 minutes (or 25 minutes for smaller size pan). Remove from oven and cool almost completely before slicing into squares.
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