Pumpkin Apple Bars (grain, nut and sweetener free)
Creating bars has become a fun challenge for me! Bars are a great go-to snack for hungry kids when you need something portable and shelf-stable.
Homemade bars are a great way to fill your kiddos’ tummies with nutrient and energy-dense ingredients!
Whether it is in my school bus (oh, I mean van :))
Or, on a hike:
Or, in the lunchbox (in the little green box):
Or, simply on a plate:
Apple chips are a simple snack to make at home. I had so many extras in the pantry, I decided to add them to this yummy bar!
Ok, onto the recipe!! This recipe looks super complex, but it really is one of those recipes that looks tricky but is a breeze to make. It just uses A LOT of pumpkin seeds!
Prepare the dry ingredients first in your dry canister so they don’t stick to the sides of a damp container. Even when you dry the canister a little moisture remains and some of those ingredients stick to the side, especially the flax seeds.
This recipe makes about 36 bars!
1 cup pumpkin seeds, chopped* 1/2 cup sunflower seeds 1/2 cup flax seeds, ground into a meal 1 cup pumpkin seeds flour (ground from whole pumpkin seeds)* 1 cup shredded coconut 1 tsp real salt 2 TBSP cinnamon 1 tsp cardamom 1/2 tsp cloves 1 cup pumpkin seed butter** (from 1 1/2 cups whole pumpkin seeds and coconut oil) 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted 1 1/2 cup soaked pitted dates 3 eggs 1 cup dried unsweetened apples (homemade or store-bought)
Putting it together:
Preheat the oven to 350F
Line an 11x 13-inch Pyrex with parchment paper
Soak 1 1/2 cups of dates in warm water.
Chop 1 cup of pumpkin seeds in your blender (I use and LOVE my Vitamix), and add the chopped seeds to a large bowl.
Grind the fresh flax seeds into a meal and add them to the bowl.
Chop 1/2 cup sunflower seeds using your blender and add them to the bowl.
Grind 1 cup of pumpkin seeds into a fine powder (flour) and add to the seed bowl along with the shredded coconut.
Next, add the spices to the seeds and coconut and stir to combine.
Now make your pumpkin butter
Grind 1 1/2 cups of whole pumpkin seeds until they start to turn into butter.
Then add 1/4 cup melted coconut oil and continue to use your tamper to incorporate the oil into the butter.
Scrape the pumpkin butter into a medium bowl.
Don’t wash your canister yet! You can use the dates and eggs to help grab the pumpkin butter residue from the sides and make clean-up a snap!
Starting from step #9…
10. Drain the dates and add them to the blender canister along with three eggs. Grind all until a smooth goop form. Add the eggs and dates to the medium bowl. 11. Using a hand beater, combine the pumpkin butter, dates, and eggs. 12. Add the pumpkin/date mix to the large bowl with the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. 13. Spread the bar mixture into the parchment-lined dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350F. 14. Let the bars cool completely and slice into squares. I freeze them on a cookie sheet and then store them in freezer bags for up to 3 months.
* For this amount of pumpkin seeds, I buy them at Costco. For smaller quantities I buy them at Thrive Market. to increase digestibility, it is best to soak the seeds for 4 hours in filtered water and then lightly toast them in a dehydrator or oven on low heat until crispy. Do this as soon as you bring the seeds home, let them cool completely, and store them in a mason jar in the pantry until you are ready to use them.