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.
Texture: For a firmer texture without refrigerating overnight, use only ½ cup of the date soak water in step 2.