Damn Good Food

Healthy 3 Layer Pumpkin Bars (GF, DF, Refined sugar free)

A gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free 3 layer pumpkin bar. We are talking shortbread, creamy pumpkin cashew, and salted dark chocolate.

Christy here and if you are anything like me then you bought lots of cans of pumpkin puree thinking you would be baking all the Fall treats. Fast forward two weeks and it's past Thanksgiving and you still have some cans leftover. This three layer bar is the perfect excuse to use them up! 

It includes a crunchy layer of shortbread, then filled with a creamy pumpkin cashew mixture, and is topped with dark chocolate and flaky sea salt. Get in my belly already. Not to mention, the main sweetener is dates. Did you know that dates are actually a fruit? No need to feel guilty about this holiday treats, you are getting your fruit servings in after all ;).
The perfect Christmas treat (with pumpkin and all!) 
Prep Time: 25-30 minutes total
Cook Time: 15 min (shortbread mixture)
Cool Time: 2 hours (waiting period between layers)
Total: 2 hours and 45 minutes- 3 hours (you won't be prepping/cooking this entire time, it's mostly waiting for each layer to cool, but want to prep you in advance that this isn't a quick make and bake)

The Goods: 
Shortbread layer: 
1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted or grass fed butter, melted
3 tbsp coconut nectar or maple syrup, melted with oil/butter
Pumpkin Layer: 
1 cup creamy cashew butter (don't sub for PB, it will take over the taste) 
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup dates, soaked for an hour in water unless they are super juicy and soft
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Chocolate Layer: 
3/4 cups of dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp flaky sea salt
How to:
Layer 1- Shortbread:
  1. Line an 8X8 baking dish with parchment paper and preheat over to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix coconut and almond flour, then slowly add warmed coconut oil/butter and coconut nectar/maple syrup mix until well combined. Ensure there are no lumps in the flour mixture. If it is too dry, simply add a little more melted coconut oil and sweetener.
  3. Pack the shortbread mixture down with a spatula and/or fingers firmly.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the shortbread turns a golden brown. Once cooked, remove and let cool completely before adding pumpkin mixture.
Layer 2- Pumpkin: 
  1. In a food processer or heavy duty blender (Vitamix), pulse soaked dates until they begin to form a sticky paste consistency. Add melted coconut oil to mixture and continue to pulse and mix. You may need to stop the blender or food processer and stir to ensure all date chunks have been thoroughly combined.
  2. Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Continue to blend until a creamy mixture begins to form. Add 1 tbsp of warm water if there are any date clumps, but you will want it to be a thick consistency.
  3. Once shortbread has cooled, add pumpkin layer on top. Place in freezer for 1 hour to let completely harden.
Final Layer 3- Dark Chocolate: 
  1. Remove your dish from the freezer and ensure it is completely hardened, if it is soft place back in freezer until completely hardened to ensure layers keep their form.
  2. Warm Dark Chocolate chips either in microwave for 30 seconds or in a double boiler on the stove until fully melted with coconut oil.
  3. Spread melted chocolate over the pumpkin layer evenly, by using a spatula.
  4. Sprinkle with flaky Maldon sea salt as a last touch! Don't skimp here.
  5. Let cool in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and let harden. Remove and cut into 2X3 inch squares/rectangles or whatever sizing you like.
  6. Enjoy! Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.