Secretly Healthy Pumpkin Pecan Blondies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) + How-To Video
Last Sunday a very magical thing happened. I gathered in my friend Annabeth's home just outside of town for a femme-only potluck. When I arrived, setting my red boots on the stoop outside the door, the night sky was lit so brightly by the super moon's silvery sheen that I could see my shadow. I kept the celestial backdrop in the back of my mind as I went inside and set my jars of beet soup on the kitchen counter. Then went to sit in a circle in the living room (a space robed in white furniture, plants and frame drums).
Early in the evening 15 of us sat in that circle and talked about our creative challenges. The shadows of self-criticism, the beasties of comparison, the muffling blankets of burn-out. We nodded and snapped and laughed in acknowledgement of the struggles we shared.
More women arrived. We drank nettles and oat straw tea. We sipped cider and broth. We filled our plates with roasted squash, turnips, apples. Shared bites of macarons and chocolate truffles. We filled our cups and our bellies. Then, as more women arrived, we sat once again in a circle in that soft white living room. But this time we shared the aspects of our creative practices that currently invigorate, enrich and enliven. Many words tumbled out, but a few themes stood out clearly. I think of them as aphorisms, since they hold some powerful weight in my mind:
- I rest to nourish my creative power.
- I am gentle with myself when my inner critic starts banging down the door.
- I love myself well enough to make space for self-care, even if that’s simply breathing intentionally while walking from place to place.
- I create repeatable rituals to invite my creative genius to play.
- I am more whole when buoyed up by the support of my sisters.
We followed up our conversation with two hours of music, sung and strummed around a condenser mic. There was poetry, rock and roll, harmonies like spun gold. We sat in rapt attention. A rare scene, with all of these brilliant artists in one room (Devon Sproule, Diane Cluck, Larkspur (me + my gals), Fen Swale, Sally Rose, Sweet Afton, Erin Lunsford, Ships in the Night).
At the end of the night I felt more whole, more human. A sensation like being wrapped in a wizards cloak. A normal, cozy, familiar type of magic that washes you in happiness and awe.
Rest, self-care and community have been my big 3 themes for December so far. I’m spending as much time as I can doing nothing (via meditating or napping or restorative yogic inversions). I’m seriously on my vitamin game and I’m slathering my whole body in sesame oil to soothe my a mild vata imbalance. And I’m hugging and/or saying gratitude for my people every day.
I’m also tending to my desire to eat and share treats with these gluten free pumpkin pecan blondies! They’re the perfect combo of decadent and healthy. Not too sweet (but also much sweeter than a breakfast treat). Spangled with chocolate chips and flecked with buttery pecans. Just a wonderfully healthy iteration of a generally sinful sugar bomb bar.
These pumpkin pecan blondies are made with oat flour, almond flour, arrowroot, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, coconut sugar, an egg, vanilla, coconut oil, pumpkin puree and cashew milk. I used Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree, which is the freshest tasting and creamiest pumpkin puree I’ve yet found on the market. The plant milk I used is Pacific Foods Original Unsweetened Cashew Beverage — a new Pacific product made with Organic and Fair Trade Certified cashews nuts that support sustainable growing practices and safe working conditions for farming communities. How cool is that?! And both products are available in groceries nation-wide.
I’ve tested these blondies innumerable times. And I can safely say that they’re totally n00b-proof!
I'm not a baker-by-nature (my improvised whimsy doesn't play well with baking’s scientific exactness). But even I — hater of baking — can get down with making this treat over and over again without wanting to bang my head against a table. The process is simple. Mix dry, mix wet, mix together. Spread in pan, bake, cool. Voila!
I’ve been making these for potlucks, girl gang hangs and holiday parties (AKA they’re sharing appropriate). But mostly I just love having them around as a post-dinner treat that I don’t feel even a pinch guilty about. Logan loves them so much! He’s like a tabby cat in a sunshine patch with this treat in his hands.
And since I know y’all will ask, yes you can make these with a chia egg to make them vegan (reminder, it’s 1 tbsp chia seeds to 3 tbsp liquid). I would suggest powdering the chia so you don’t get little chia seed flecks in the final dessert. The result is mildly crumblier without the egg, and you may need to bake for up to 10 minutes longer than suggested. Just keep eying it after 25 minutes to be sure it doesn't over-cook. It’ll still have a moist crumb when you insert a toothpick in the center.
Pumpkin Pecan Blondies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
Created by Renee on December 6, 2017
Note: I use stevia-sweetened chocolate chips from Lily’s sweets, but any dark chocolate chip will do (60% or darker ideally). Inspired by & (extremely) adapted from Oh She Glows (link at bottom of recipe).
- Prep Time: 5m
- Cook Time: 25m
- Yield: ~12 bars
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp oat flour
- 1 1/4 cups blanched fine almond meal/flour
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of cinnamon / cardamom)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup Pacific Foods Unsweetened Original Cashew Non-Dairy Beverage
- 1/2 cup Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 farm fresh egg
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for topping
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped roughly + more for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 inch square brownie pan with coconut oil (skip this step if your brownie pan is non-stick).
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: oat flour, almond meal, arrowroot, sea salt, baking powder, coconut sugar, pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon / cardamom).
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: melted coconut oil, Pacific Foods Unsweetened Original Cashew Non-Dairy Beverage, Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree, vanilla extract and egg.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir together until smooth.
- Add the chocolate chips and chopped pecans.
- Spoon the blondie batter into your prepared pan with a rubber spatula. Spread it out into every corner and smooth the top. Sprinkle more chocolate chips and pecans over top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden and the center is firm.
- Cool completely before removing from the pan.
- Cut into squares. Eat as-is or serve with non-dairy vanilla ice cream for a decadent treat!
The post is sponsored by Pacific Foods. All opinions and content are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this site!