Healthy Pumpkin Spice Bars
Are you ready for a slice of fall bliss?
Well, here ya go! While I'm pretty sure this is the healthiest pumpkin spice bar online that does NOT mean that it sacrifices on delivering a dense, delicious and perfectly sweetened treat.
I scoured the internet looking for inspo, but every recipe was loaded with cup after cup of sugar and oil. And while I am a huge proponent of enjoying an indulgent treat, I also wanted to take on the challenge of lightening this holiday favorite up just a bit and still make it just as delightful as ever.
It has hints of cozy spices and a thin layer of sweet, slightly tangy frosting on top. It can even be made egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free and with no added sugar.
I'd call that: Mission - ACCOMPLISHED!
For cake -
1 ¾ cup white whole wheat (or gluten-free* flour)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax mixed with 2.5 Tbsp water) or 1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin purée
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
For frosting -
4 oz cream cheese
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp softened butter (optional, but def gives a creamier flavor)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Frosting note: The amount of frosting in this recipe results in a pretty thin layer but can be tailored to your preferences. Double the recipe if you want more sweetness or eliminate it all together. I will say that the frosting, even just the slightest bit - MAKES this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat an 8”-square pan with nonstick cooking spray. (Optional: Line the pan with parchment paper before spraying for easier removal and clean-up.)
To prepare cake: whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, falx egg, and vanilla. Stir in pumpkin purée and mashed bananas. Gradually add in flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F for ~20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare frosting by beating all ingredients in a bowl. Spread on top of cooled cake.
Compliments to @Amyshealthybaking for the recipe inspo!