- 10 medjool dates, pitted and diced (about 1 cup diced)
- 1½ cups rolled oats, ground into flour in a blender
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or see notes)
- 1 (15-ounce) can cooked pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix), (or 1½ cups cooked, pureéd pumpkin; see notes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk
- 1 cup Macadamia-Vanilla Frosting
These pumpkin squares are easier to make than pumpkin pie, and they are firm enough to be eaten as finger food. They are great by themselves, or add a bit of Macadamia-Vanilla Frosting for a little “happy holidays.”
1. Soak the dates in a small bowl with ¾ cup water for at least 15 minutes.
2. Preheat the over to 375ºF.
3. Place the flour and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Place the soaked dates, the date soak water (see “texture” note), vanilla, and plant milk in a blender and purée until smooth (1 to 2 minutes). Pour the mixture into the bowl of flour and spices, and also add the pumpkin, and mix with a wooden spoon until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
4. Scrape the batter into an 8 × 8-inch parchment-lined baking sheet (or use a nonstick silicone baking pan). Cook for 25 to 30 minutes at 375ºF, until lightly browned with some cracks on the top. Let cool at least 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
5. If desired, top with Macadamia-Vanilla Frosting just before serving, or use a rotary cheese grater to dust lightly with grated macadamia or other nuts. Storing in the refrigerator overnight will firm up these squares, then you can pack them in a lunch or as a snack.
To make your own pumpkin pie spice: If you do not have pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can substitute 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.
Using fresh pumpkin: If you want to use fresh pumpkin instead of canned, cut a pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove all the seeds and stringy fibers, and then place cut-side down in a baking pan. Bake at 350ºF for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on size), or until easily pierced with a knife. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh, and purée in a food processor until smooth. For a firmer dessert, extract the excess liquid by lining a regular kitchen strainer with cheesecloth and straining the pumpkin purée. You can also scoop the puréed pumpkin into the center of a large piece of cheesecloth, tie it off at the top, and hang it up to drain over a bowl for a couple hours. Cool the purée before using.
Texture: For a firmer texture without refrigerating overnight, use only ½ cup of the date soak water in step 2.
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