Feeling Fall {Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars} Gluten-Free

I was feeling Fall this weekend! Temperatures here in Southern California are lingering in the upper 80s. In every way, it still feels like summer here. Mind you, I'm not complaining as we're relishing the extra evenings at the beach and the excuse to get outdoors. In fact, our Fall Girl Scout gathering felt more like a summer kick-off meeting - complete with boogie boarding, walks to the pier and a packed beach. Even in this serious beach weather, or perhaps BECAUSE of it, I am yearning for all things Fall... spices, cooler temperatures, turning leaves, pumpkins and in our home - a return to baking.

So on Sunday afternoon, after a trip to our local Farmer's Market to gather a few fresh delicacies not growing in our own gardens, I whipped up these delightfully Fall pumpkin chocolate chip bars. You'll notice I've given a few options for flour and mixes - because in a pinch you can grab a bag of gluten-free mix and make these happen. But of course, I love using the whole-grain gluten-free flours for their increased nutrients and rich flavor.

ALTERNATIVE NATURAL SWEETENERS

In my recent Back-to-School with Superfoods workshop at Whole Foods Market, we discussed a few natural, nutrient-rich alternative sweeteners. I've included an option to use yacon syrup in this recipe. This sweetener is derived from a South American tuber, similar to jicima. Yacon's flavor is a bit like molasses yet this sweetener has HALF the calories of cane sugar.

WHY YACON?

Yacon is one of the healthier alternative sweeteners available on the market due to its high concentration of inulin and low glycemic impact,  making this sweetener a perfect option for diabetics or those with sensitivities towards sugars.

The yacon root contains particularly high concentrations of a group of sugars  known as Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), that the body is unable to break down, but that  act as important Prebiotics or a food supply for the Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria within  our colon.  Yacon's higher FOS content stimulates an increase in the population of Probiotics, improving our intestinal microflora, which in turn promotes our overall gastro-intestinal and digestive function. The yacon root is believed to have been used for medicinal purposes as long ago as 1200 B.C. Many continue to eat yacon to lower blood sugar, to strengthen the immune system and to improve symptoms of diabetes and chronic liver disease as well as for kidney issues.

Curious? Adventurous? You can find yacon syrup in the sweeteners aisle of your local natural foods store or online. Give yacon a try in this recipe or simply substitute with your favorite natural sweetener.

SUBSTITUTING WITH YACON

When substituting yacon syrup, use 3/4 cup for a 1 cup equivalent of refined white sugar or brown sugar. An important note: Substituting may slightly alter the overall volume of your recipe - which in turn may affect your yield. For example, a recipe that typically makes 2 dozen cookies, when yacon is substituted, may yield 2-5 less cookies. If you are baking a precise number or amount, adjust your recipe accordingly.

Our home smelled delightfully of Fall while these bars were baking! We baked this batch without nuts, as we knew in advance that we had someone with a nut allergy. I was asked several times during our gathering for the recipe. This combined with the fact that we polished off an entire tray of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars - the sure sign of a keeper!

We'll be baking up another batch or three of these for school, theatre and sports events this October. I hope you'll stop back by and let us know how you enjoyed them.

What sweeteners do you tend to cook and bake with these days?

Be well,

 

 

Find me on Facebook  here or follow me on Twitter @HipSimpleFabGF.

Hungry for more? Order your FREE Nutrition Book now.

Ready to feel your BEST? Contact me to schedule your complimentary wellness break-through session.

 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups Gluten-Free Buckwheat flour (such as Arrowhead Mills or Bob's Red Mill)*

  • 1 3/8 cups Gluten-Free Brown Rice flour (such as Arrowhead Mills or Bob's Red Mill)*

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda*

  • (*Optional sub these top 3 ingredients for Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Mix.

    Use 2 3/4 cups plus 1/8 cup or 360 g total)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (or sub dairy-free/vegan butter)

  • 1/2 cup yacon syrup or 3/4 cup succanat

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs (or equivalent egg substitute)

  • 3/4 cup cooked pureed pumpkin (use canned or fresh cooked)

  • 2 cups Gluten-Free chocolate chips (one 12-oz. package)

  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

METHOD

(Makes approximately 48 cookie squares/bars)

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

  2. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt and spices) in a small bowl.

  3. Beat butter, sweeteners and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer) until creamy.

  4. One at a time, add each egg, and beat thoroughly.

  5. Add pumpkin to mixture. Stir until smooth.

  6. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired.

  7. Grease a 15x10 inch pan.

  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool before cutting.

    Enjoy!

    www.LiveInspiredToday.com

    © Copyright Clea Shannon 2009-2012

    Eat Inspired Today™ LLC

    Join me on Facebook at Live Inspired Today or find me here.

    Sign up to receive my ezine with the latest Hip, Simple, Fabulous™ recipes, healthy inspiration, upcoming cooking classes and event announcements.