The holidays are my favorite time of the year, but I always gain a few pounds at this time of year. It's no fun trying to lose those pesky pounds, so I work hard to cut back on the sugar and carbs in my recipes and still make them taste great. I promise, you will never miss the sugar in these healthy gluten free and sugar free pumpkin bars!
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Lately, I've been baking with NuNaturals NuStevia pure white extract and I really like it. It's a pure stevia without fillers and it even tastes great in my coffee. You use so little of the pure concentrate when you cook that it lasts a long time. I used to use liquid stevia, but this is a much better bargain.
I've also used a Stevia Baking blend for years, but now I'm learning that the maltodextrin that it is combined with might not be healthy. I did use the baking blend in the frosting recipe below, but you can substitute with powdered xylitol or erythritol instead.When converting my favorite recipes that are made with sugar to Stevia powder I've learned that you need to substitute the sugar bulk.
For example, if you have an old recipe that calls for a cup of sugar, calculate the amount of Stevia you will need, depending on what kind of stevia you are using. Then replace the "bulk" of the cup of sugar that you lose with an additional 1/3 cup of a filler like applesauce, yogurt or squash. That way your baked goods will come out soft and moist like these pumpkin bars did!
Ingredients: make sure all ingredients are gluten free
- 3 cups (330 grams) gluten free flour mix- see recipe below
- 2 teaspoons psyllium husks
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8th teaspoon NuNaturals Stevia
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, soft, room temp
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 1/2 cups (packed) butternut squash or any variety of squash/pumpkin you have, cube, remove seeds, boil till tender, peel and mash (canned regular pumpkin should work)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Frosting: beat until smooth
- 1 block (8 oz/226 grams) Neufchatel cream cheese, soft, room temp
- 1 heaping tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Stevia baking mix or sweetener of choice, to taste
- dash milk, if needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line with parchment a 15x10 inch baking dish
- In a bowl, mix the gluten free flours, psyllium husks, baking powder, baking soda, stevia, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Set aside
- In the large bowl of stand mixer, combine the butter, applesauce and squash. Beat for a minute or two, reduce speed and add eggs, one at a time.
- Add vanilla and flour mixture, beat batter for a minute or two until smooth.
- Pour into prepared baking dish. Smooth top
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or just done. Stick might have a little crumb when tested. Do not over bake.
- Cool and frost.
- Best eaten the first or second day as they tend to dry out with time. Store well sealed in fridge.
Wouldn't they be pretty on these dishes? I can't wait to get my Christmas plates out!
If you like squash as much as I do, you should try my new Apple Cake, Pumpkin Quick Bread, Gingerbread Squash Donuts and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies all made with squash. Or stir mashed squash into you pancake batters, smoothies or yogurt. The sky is the limit!
Gluten Free Flour Mix:
2/3 cup (75 grams) garbanzo bean flour
1/3 cup (24 grams) rice flour
1 cup (129 grams) cornstarch
1 cup (102 grams) tapioca starch