I’ve become sort of addicted to Pinterest lately. It’s a neat way to keep collections of pictures from around the internet on different ‘boards’. I’ve seen some people use Pinterest to collect ideas for their wedding, holidaying, and of course cooking.
I am just getting started on Pinterest so it’s not like I have tons of stuff on my boards yet … but still, feel free to come follow me on Pinterest for fun.
Anyhow, someone suggested I check out a website – The Spunky Coconut – and I used Pinterest to save a picture of a recipe I absolutely felt I had to try – the Pumpkin Chai Bars using a raw pecan crust.
I made some substitutions for what I had on hand and the results were quite tasty. To me the chai flavors weren’t really standing out but it was a dead ringer for a pumpkin pie, and so I even changed the name a bit.
Pumpkin Pie Bars with Pecan Crust
- 1 cup pecan pieces (or more if you're using whole pecans)
- ½ cup almond meal
- 5 soft pitted dates (soaked if they are dry)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons agar powder
- In a food processor add pecans, almond meal, dates and first amount of cinnamon.
- Puree until it begins to form a ball.
- Press into an ungreased 8x8 baking dish.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat combine coconut milk, pumpkin, coconut sugar, agave nectar and spices. Whisk and heat to a simmer. Simmer until the coconut sugar is dissolved.
- Add agar powder to the simmering mixture and whisk constantly for 1 minute.
- Pour over crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate until completely cooled and set. Keep refrigerated.
So, if you look at the original recipe, she called for liquid stevia with vanilla flavor. I don’t have stevia and I don’t cook with it. So, I replaced the equivalent in sweetness in agave nectar, plus some vanilla extract. I don’t know how different this made the bars but I’m pretty sure they’re still just as tasty as hers!
The crust reminds me a lot of the Pecan Pie bar from Larabar. And judging from the ingredients on their site it looks like it could be a clone recipe for sure. So good.
I haven’t posted any recipes using agar on my site yet. There’s a difference between agar flakes and agar powder. If you only have agar flakes you’d need quite a lot more than 2 teaspoons to make the mixture thicken up. Agar (also called agar-agar) is a gelatinous substance that is often used as a vegetarian gelatin substitute. It’s been used for desserts in Asia forever. Agar is also high in fiber (80%), and sometimes is used as an intestinal regulator.