Killer Squash Bars, GF & V

We’re pretty good at growing a variety of heirloom squashes. Too good. I mean, what are we going to do with all of these?

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This is only a fraction of our harvest and they vary from 10 to almost 30 pounds each!   A lot will be sold, but we’ll still have our own huge share of them. Time to process, vacuum seal, and freeze. What better way to process squash then turn them into savory desserts we can enjoy throughout the year. Since these bars were a household hit, I plan on storing 5 pounds of squash worth of them!

So far, I have found that our Blue Kuri (Hokkaido) Kabocha and Hubbard squashes work well for this recipe. The Blue Kuri is actually a bit sweeter. I recommend using a sweet-fleshed winter squash for desserts, not the acorn type.

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Tips before you get started:

  • Make the crust and squash puree ahead of time, like the day before. They should both be chilled in the refrigerator before using.
  • Before cutting the dessert into bars, the dish will need to chill for a few hours first.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup GF flour or coconut flour
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • 1 ¼ cup walnuts
  • 9 oz of Fair Trade brown sugar (that’s ½ cup + 2 Tbsps)*
  • 2 ½ oz of coconut oil (5 Tbsps)
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • ½ tsp salt

Squash filling ingredients:

  • 1 cup homemade sweet orange fleshed squash mash
  • 2 ½ oz of coconut oil (5 Tbsps)
  • 2 Tbsps maple syrup (add more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp rum (or vanilla)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt

Topping ingredients:

  • ½ cup set aside crust crumble (from above)
  • ½ cup raw or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup Enjoy Life mini semi-sweet chocolate chips*

*Whole Foods and Sprouts sell vegan varieties

Instructions

Preheat oven at 350° F.

Squash puree:

Break open the squash and scoop out the seeds. Either roast the pieces drizzled in olive oil in the oven flesh down on foil, or steam them on the stovetop. It will take about 45 minutes for the flesh to soften.   When the flesh is soft, scoop it away from the skin. Discard the skin. You’ll need a cup of the puree for this recipe. Use the excess squash for another recipe or freeze for another time.

Squash filling:

Mash with a fork, or blend using a hand mixer, the squash puree, coconut oil, maple syrup, rum, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Let it chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Crust:

Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Add the flour (of your choice), almond meal, walnuts, brown sugar, coconut oil, flax seeds, and salt to a food processer or blender and pulse until it looks like “wet sand.”

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Scoop out ½ cup of the crust mixture and set aside for the topping later.

Pour the crust mixture onto the parchment lined dish and press evenly throughout, especially the corners and edges, making sure you have an even layered crust.

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Bake the crust in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown along the edges and dry to touch. Remove from the oven and let it cool before chilling in the refrigerator.

The bars:

Once the squash filling and crust are chilled, it’s time to make the bars.

Spread the squash filling evenly over the baked crust.

Mix together the topping ingredients: crumble crust mixture, coconut shreds, and chocolate chips. Spread the topping evenly over the squash filling.

Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes to toast the topping and melt the chocolate.

Chill the dessert in the refrigerator for a few hours to harden before slicing.

Slicing the bars:

Once the dessert is chilled, carefully lift the parchment paper from the dish and place it on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice the dessert into small rectangular or square bar sizes. They’re rich, so a little goes a long way! Store the bars in the refrigerator and serve chilled.

In our house, they’re known to pair well with vanilla ice cream.

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This time, I stopped myself from eating a bunch of bars after just one. Okay, one and a half. Of course, I had to test taste! The rest were frozen and stored away from my clutches. Before vacuum sealing the bars, I placed them in the freezer for about an hour so they wouldn’t get squashed in the FoodSaver. It took a lot of will power to do this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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