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.
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!
(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.)