Pumpkin Spice Season

It’s true. I have a very hungry appetite for all things pumpkin-y and spice scented during the Fall. But my motivation for this recipe comes from my realization that I can count the number of decorations I own for one of my favorite holidays of the year, Halloween, on one hand. Actually, one finger.

It’s a small plastic jack-o-lantern (a name I, and probably many other Jacquelyn’s remember well. Totally not bitter about that one) that’s been spray painted gold. I received it as a prize at a friends Halloween party last year, after entering in the pie contest. Not pie eating, mind you, although I maybe would have entered had there been one : ) My only excuse for the lack of decor is that after moving from one apartment to the next, year after year, for a totally of 8 moves in 8 years, is that you really learn to downsize.

Pumpkin Pie Bars / Good Things Grow

Pumpkin Pie Bars / Good Things Grow

Now I’m in a place where moving is just not as easy an option the way it used to be, but I’m still holding onto the phrase in my head that says “does this object have more than one use, is it small, or do I really love/have to have it?” I’m sure many small space dwellers or non-clutter lovers can agree with me that sometimes decorations for certain holidays fall by the way side when this thought crosses your mind. Real pumpkins, the ones you pick out in a field, where you come home with mud on your shoes, those “decorations” are the ones we had every year, luckily. They’re the ones that will always fit into my requisite rules for what comes into the house.

When I told this to my mom, she insisted I take home a few of her pumpkin, ghost, and witch decorations. Which I did, but things were still feeling pretty sparse, so I baked a treat instead. Filled it with pumpkin, over an oaty cookie-like crust and topped with coconut, almonds, and chocolate. This one didn’t even make it through the weekend before being devoured.

Pumpkin Pie Bars / Good Things Grow

Pumpkin Pie Bars with Coconut, Chocolate & Almonds On Top / makes 8
It seems like a lot of steps because I’ve broken everything down, but really they’re simple to make and you probably have all the ingredients already.

3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup muscovado or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1-3 teaspoons cold water

2 cups pumpkin puree or 1 14oz. can
1/2 cup muscovado or brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and line an 8″x8″ baking pan with parchment.

Place the rolled oats in a food processor and whirl until the oats become oat flour. Add in the salt and sugar, give another pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until fully combined, mixture will be crumbly. Add the water 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture comes together.

Press the dough into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly while preparing the filling.

In a large bowl combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, spices, and cornstarch, stir well to combine. Pour in the coconut milk, stirring well to incorporate. In a small bowl mix together the almonds, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut.

Pour the pumpkin mixture over the oat crust, smooth out to evenly cover. Sprinkle the topping mixture over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Allow to cool completely then chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before cutting into.