Gluten-free pumpkin bars sweetened mostly with coconut sugar and topped with an irresistible, lightly sweet cream cheese frosting are perfect for Halloween.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars
It might sound like an exaggeration to say that I can’t stop eating these gluten-free pumpkin bars but the truth is: I can’t stop eating these gluten-free pumpkin bars! Warmly spiced, loaded with pumpkin flavor, and topped with a just-sweet-enough cream cheese frosting, these are my new favorite fall treats,
Simple Flour Combination
In this recipe I chose a simple combination of oat and tapioca flours. I love oat flour for its soft and fluffy texture in bakes, but final results can be gummy if used as the only gluten-free flour. Here, the right amount of starch balances it out and creates a sturdy crumb perfect to hold up the frosting. (See the recipe notes for substitutions but if you don’t do oat flour, sorghum flour is a great replacement.) Resting the batter to let the flours absorb the liquid is key (full disclosure: my batter rested for over an hour because I was doing school pickups; try for at least 15 minutes). The bars bake up nice and dense and taste great straight from the fridge, even better after they’ve come to room temperature a bit. Unlike a cake, you can eat these without a fork, especially handy when serving to kids or at a fall gathering (or both?). Coconut sugar and maple syrup are the natural sweeteners, and they play beautifully with the oat and pumpkin flavors.
I cram a lot of pumpkin recipes into my kitchen between October-December because I truly love pumpkin. Of course I could bake with it during the spring and summer months but somehow it just doesn’t feel right! So October/November are my big pumpkin months and I will be sharing a few more recipes before the end of the year, with hopes that we haven’t all been pumpkin-ed out by then. These gluten-free pumpkin bars would make a perfect Halloween dessert, or you could bring them to a Thanksgiving potluck. But who am I kidding — don’t wait to make these. You can eat them anytime you want, just like me.
Til next time – N x
What You’ll Need for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars
- Oat flour: My favorite gluten-free flour for baking, oat flour is a whole grain, delicious flour made from ground oats
- Tapioca flour: Great in gluten-free baking for its binding capability
- Coconut sugar: A wonderful unrefined sugar option with a deep caramel flavor
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Ground spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves
- Oil: You could use coconut oil or a neutral vegetable oil
- Pure vanilla extract
- Pumpkin puree: Pure pumpkin works best in this recipe
- Maple syrup
- Cream cheese
Tips for Success
- Let batter rest for at least 15 minutes before baking. Oat flour really benefits from a rest to let it absorb liquids.
- Bring ingredients to room temperature before using.
- See “Notes” section following the recipe for substitution suggestions.
How to Store
Store gluten-free pumpkin bars in an air-tight container or well covered in the pan in the fridge for 5 days. Bars may be served cold from the fridge or at room temperature. You can slice them all up at once or as needed.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars
- 200 g gluten-free oat flour (about 2 cups)
- 80 g tapioca flour (about ½ cup)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 3 eggs large
- 1 ¼ cups coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 ½ cups homemade powdered sugar see notes
- Pinch salt
- Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan with oil and line with parchment paper, leaving some to go up the sides.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat and tapioca flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, coconut sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together until combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk and stir until completely combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Let rest for at least 15 minutes so the flours can hydrate. Then preheat oven to 350° F.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, checking at 50 minutes. A tester inserted in the middle should come out clean, the top should feel slightly firm when lightly pressed, and the edges should be coming away from the sides of the pan.
- Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about an hour. Place in the fridge to chill further while you make the frosting.
- To make frosting: place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, whip the ingredients together until well blended and slightly fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the salt and then sift in the powdered sugar (to avoid lumps). Mix very well until a thick frosting forms. Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake and place in the fridge.
- Pumpkin bars may be served cold from the fridge or at room temperature. You can slice them all up at once or as needed. Bars will keep, well covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days.