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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 16 bars

Canned pumpkin puree makes a great base for a luscious, naturally sweet frosting. Look for varieties in which pumpkin is the only ingredient. Make these cookie bars up to two days in advance and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.


Cookie Bars
  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups oat flour
  • ⅓ cup sorghum flour
  • ½ cup pure cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
Frosting and Toppings
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pumpkin puree (3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ tablespoons pure cane sugar
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch sheet pan with a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a bowl mix ¾ cup of the applesauce, the almond butter, and 1 tablespoon vanilla.
  3. In a separate large bowl mix flours, sugar, flaxseed, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Mix to combine. (Do not overmix.)
  5. Spread the batter evenly on prepared sheet pan. Use a spatula to tidy the edges to form a rectangle. With the help of a bench scraper or blunt knife, score the dough to make 16 bars.
  6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the top appears dry and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool.
  7. Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin puree in a small bowl. Add arrowroot powder and mix well. Set aside.
  8. For frosting, in a small pan combine the remaining pumpkin puree, ¾ cup applesauce, 2 tablespoons vanilla, and 1 ½ tablespoons sugar. Cook over medium-low for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to thicken. Stir in the arrowroot–pumpkin paste. The arrowroot paste will turn the mixture a creamy hue; continue cooking over medium-low for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it becomes more translucent and the texture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Spread an even layer of frosting onto bars. Generously sprinkle with cranberries and, if desired, pecans. When ready to serve, cut bars along score marks.

Comments (7)

(4 from 2 votes)
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Cathy Jardine8 months ago
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Can I use fresh cranberries

Rebecca Gardner8 months ago
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Try using coconut sugar instead of white. It is sugar, yes , but not refined or processed and that is the deal breaker for me. Much healthier for you than the refined sugars out there.

Alexandra Alexopoulos6 months ago
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I agree

Judy8 months ago
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Why do you add pure cane sugar? I thought whole food plant based diet was without salt, oil and sugar?

Stacey8 months ago
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I was just wondering the same thing, Judy. I like to sweeten desserts with ripe banana, sweet potato, or dates. I’m wondering if there is a WFPB substitution that could be made for the cane sugar in this recipe.

Georgia Ackerman2 years ago
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The 1.5 T of sugar for frosting.. . .when does that get added?

Karen2 years ago
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Frosting didn’t set up well but the bars were very tasty. Not overly sweet which was nice.

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about the author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.

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