La Jolla Mom

Date and Pecan Pumpkin Squares

BY La Jolla Mom

If you’re looking for a dessert to take to a holiday party or just love pumpkin, these date and pecan pumpkin squares are a healthier alternative, that don’t taste healthy.  I saw this recipe on the Whole Foods website on a day I had time to bake, but did not feel like going to the store.

I had all ingredients in my pantry except for whole wheat pastry flour.  A quick search on Google told me that an acceptable substitution would be 1/2 cake flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour.  Bingo – I quickly made them.  The next day I took them to a party at a friend’s house where most of the attendees were in the fitness business.  They were a hit.  Don’t get me wrong–these have butter and you won’t get skinny eating them.

Make sure that your dates haven’t gotten hard.  I used large organic, soft dates and they made all the difference in the world.  The dates are tough to keep separated when you cut them up as they glob together, but it’s OK, just try to manually spread them out in the pan when it’s time.

See also: Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe: The One Used for Turkey Cupcakes


Serves 24
For a fragrant treat, add 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom to the batter when you add the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. These autumn and winter sweets are perfect for packing in lunches.

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour  (can use 1 1/4 cups cake flour and 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 pound pitted dates(about 3 cups), roughly chopped
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. In a second bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and water and beat again until combined.

In a small bowl, toss dates with 1/4 cup of the flour mixture until coated well. Gradually add remaining flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, beating slowly. Stir in dates and pecans then transfer batter to a
greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan and spread out evenly.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool on a rack, then cut into squares and serve. Do not overcook.  Toward the end, I watched it like a hawk so that it was just barely done – I like things moist. Enjoy!

See also: Gooey Pumpkin Cake Recipe: Better Than Pumpkin Pie

(There was a Whole Foods gift card giveaway attached to this post when it was first published, which explains why the comments are the way they are.)

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146 thoughts on “Date and Pecan Pumpkin Squares

  1. Do those ever sound good! I’m looking for healthier things to bake for Christmas and have saved this recipe. Thanks!
    .-= Maven´s last blog ..What’s Your Favourite Book? =-.

  2. I make pumpkin crisp which is different than pie but oh so much better in my opinion . It is usually the first dessert gone.

  3. My favorite holiday dessert is a piece of Marzipan candy. My grandmother (when she was alive) used to send me some every year for the holidays and it always brings back such wonderful memories of her – a very special lady!

  4. my fave holiday dessert is pumpkin custard with vanilla whipped cream, with a dash of chai spices onver the whipped cream! yummm!

    cathy b
    projecthope7 at gmail dot com

  5. My favorite holiday dessert is United Dairy Farmers’ Peppermint Ice Cream. They only sell it in November and December, so it really is a holiday treat. Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I don’t like pie.
    .-= Stephanie Reed´s last blog ..A Recipe for Writing =-.

  6. Oooh, I think my fave would have to be a sliver of pecan pie with a dollop of real whipped cream. I normally am not a pie eater at other times of the year but there’s something about fall that really brings out the pie in me:-)

    If I win this gift card I just might use it at the LA JOLLA Whole Foods! It is my fave WF around. I love the people watching and the friendly folks who work there.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    .-= Juliet Grossman´s last blog ..Get Inspired by Safeway/Vons This Thanksgiving =-.

  7. Favorite holiday dessert? You’re going to make me pick one? Nuh uh. Ain’t gonna happen! Coconut cake, cookies, stained glass window candy, toffee (getting the impression I have a WICKED sweet tooth?!)…

  8. My all-time favorite are my mom’s poppy seed filled Kolacky, which she still makes with lard…
    I’ve tried to replicate the recipe without lard with no luck, mom’s always taste better!

  9. Big fan of whole foods, I get the freshist fruit and Vegies there, Love their salad and hot food bar/ My fav pie is a sweet potato pie, better than pumpkin


  10. My new favorite is a Pumpkin roll that I had at my friend’s house at Thanksgiving. It had a cream cheese filling and was delicious. Thanks for the contest.

  11. I tried to follow Whole Foods on Twitter, but it said I’m blocked??? (I sent a message to Whole Foods to see why)
    Also, my prior comments show the word “no” next to Twitter. Sorry about that, my computer’s form filler put that in & I didn’t see it.

  12. There are so many- from pumpkin roll to homemade fudge to snowball cookies I love them all. 😉
    .-= Dddiva´s last blog ..New look for the holidays – what do you think? =-.

  13. Pingback: Winner: Whole Foods Gift Card Giveaway

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