Pumpkin Coconut Bars

Once a week I’ve been publishing a recipe that uses pumpkin. This time I took a request from the audience. Last week my wife came home with a recipe printed out that one of her coworkers had clipped for me. At first glance, I questioned the recipe – would coconut and pumpkin taste good together? I didn’t want to turn down a special request, however.

This dish ended up being a pleasant surprise. It certainly tastes different than a traditional pumpkin pie. The thick and crunchy oat and brown sugar crust contrasts nicely with the creaminess of the pumpkin filling. The coconut doesn’t provide much flavor, but it’s a welcomed texture.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, substituting white whole wheat flour and upping the seasoning level. One of the nice things about this recipe is it’s quick to mix together and doesn’t require a stand mixer – just a whisk will do. These bars are sweet and dense, with just the right amount of spice. Think of them as the fall version of lemon squares.

Crust ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats (either quick cook or old fashioned)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup plain shredded coconut (if using sweetened coconut, cut amount of white sugar to 3/4 cup)

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the crust ingredients and mix thoroughly. The will be crumbly but clump together when squeezed.

 

Step 2. Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper, then dump in the crust dough. Press it down thoroughly in an even layer, then poke the crust with a fork. Par-bake the crust for 10 minutes.

Step 3. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Beat the eggs together, then add the remaining filling ingredients. Mix well and pour into the baked crust. Then bake for 50-60 minutes.

 

Note: See how there’s a dark spot in the center of the bars? This is the still very wet center after baking for 45 minutes. Ultimately I baked my bars for 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle just came out clean.

Remove the bars from the oven and let them cool at least two hours before slicing. I found it much easier to serve the bars by lifting them all out of the tin by holding onto the edges of the parchment paper.

  • Pumpkeen

    These bars are phenomenal. A version of pumpkin pie worthy of breakfast! I used oat flour instead of whole wheat in the crust, and in the filling I also used oat flour instead of cornstarch and swapped the coconut for finely shredded carrots. I had to give some to friends in lieu of eating the whole batch myself! I am definitely archiving this recipe.

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