Raw Pumpkin Spice Energy Bars

Yes, I am on a pumpkin kick lately.  But can you blame me? Tis the season, at least here in Minnesota.  The weather is not even very cool yet, and I am still wanting that familiar flavor, laced with a bit of spices.  The berries and peaches are out of season and the pumpkins, squash, and apples are here.  I try to eat what is local and the most fresh so I am all for it! 

Although I have been mostly making pumpkin desserts, the flavor has began to translate into breakfasts too.  I recently made some Raw Pumpkin Spice Energy Bars and they were simply yummalicious!  They tasted like sweet pumpkin spice muffins or cake, but they were filled with nutritious ingredients. 

I always try to include omega 3s in my daily meals and snacks, so I added in some hemp seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds. You would not know though if you closed your eyes and ate them because they tasted like delicious dessert!  I kind of felt like I was getting away with something eating them, they were so good.  If you are craving pumpkin too, and are in need of a new after work out snack, you need to try these!

Raw Pumpkin Spice Energy Bars
Makes 12

1/4 cup raw coconut nectar (maple syrup, or your choice liquid sweetener)
1/2 cup soft medjool dates, pitted (soaked in filtered water for 30 minutes if not soft and drained well)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped raw pumpkin (you can also use squash or carrot)
1 tsp maple extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
1 cup finely shredded, dried coconut
1 cup ground flax seed
2 scoops raw vanilla protein powder (I used Garden of Life Raw Vanilla)
1/4 cup raw, shelled hemp seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat groats
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid
1 tsp raw coconut nectar (or your choice liquid raw sweetener)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp filtered water

In a food processor, combine the coconut nectar, dates, sea salt, pumpkin, maple extract, vanilla extract, and coconut butter and process until smooth. Add the cup coconut, flax seed, and protein powder and process until well combined.  Add the seeds and buckwheat groats and process briefly just to incorporate (so that there is still texture).  Remove from the processor and knead in raisins, and pumpkin seeds (the mixture may be a little sticky, but that is ok*).  Spread out on a lined dehydrator tray 1/2 inch thick in a square (using a bench scraper to shape the sides and an oiled rolling pin helps).  Cut into 12 bars, and place in the dehydrator.  Dry for about 12 hours at 115F until dry but still chewy. Or, alternatively, you can just place in the freezer until firm (about an hour) but they will be not be as firm, or keep as long.
Once the bars are ready, to make the glaze, whisk together all ingredients until smooth (it may seem clumpy at first, but it will thin out). . Then drizzle over the finished bars (I like to put mine in a pastry bag and drizzle it).  Place in the freezer for 5 minutes to set the glaze.  Store finished bars in the fridge in an airtight container.

*Note: if you do not want to dehydrate these, add more flax meal if too sticky, a little at a time until they are not sticky, kneading it in, then refrigerate them to firm up.

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