If—on a scale of 1 to 10—taking risks and loving adventure is a 10, I’d say I fall at about -5.
I love safety and security, the predictability of routines, known outcomes, and the comfort of familiarity. As a kid, I colored inside the lines. I held a hand whenever I crossed the street. I ordered the same flavor at the ice cream parlor every time (mint chocolate chip). I made checklists. I obeyed the rules. And if there weren’t any rules, I’d ask someone to make them up so that I’d have something to follow.
When it comes to my very non-adventurous spirit, I take after my dad. We appreciate lead time, schedules, and adherence to the plan. But because opposites attract, my dad fell in love with and married my mom—a free spirit with a gypsy’s heart. She’s the mover and shaker in the family with a knack for exploring life’s endless possibilities with an open mind. She’s a dreamer, an adventurer.
I have a cousin who jumps out of planes. For fun. (To which I say…what!? You’d have to pay me thousands to do that.)
I have an uncle who hunts in the water buffalo and snake and who knows what else infested wilderness of Africa. (Again, for fun.)
People do all kinds of crazy things in the name of adventure. Me? I’m perfectly happy with my feet firmly planted on dry ground with no snakes in sight.
There’s one exception, though. When it comes to cooking, my safe side takes a chill pill and the adventurer in me shows her colors. I love taking risks in the kitchen, throwing together a few ingredients and hoping it will all work out. Sometimes it doesn’t, and I scold myself for wasting costly ingredients and time for something that’s hardly fit for consumption, let alone sharing with others. But other times, it all does work out. And I’m glad I took the risk. Like with these pumpkin bars.
I had an idea to make marbled pumpkin chocolate bars that were sort of a cross between a brownie and cheesecake in texture. I had no idea if it would work, but I took a chance and spent some time in the kitchen a few weeks ago to try it out. It worked.
The batter for these bars is thick and dough-like. As you see in the photo above, it’s super easy to create the marbled pattern. You simply roll each half of the dough—one plain pumpkin half and one chocolate half—into balls. Toss them in any old pattern into a baking dish and then press them together with your hands.
It will look something like this:
Once your dough is pressed together, it’s ready to bake. After you cool the bars and cut them into squares, you can either serve them right away or refrigerate them. I loved the flavor best straight from the refrigerator. Because they’re cold, they have more of that cheesecake vibe. These bars are very moist, which is why they remind me of a cross between cheesecake and fudgy brownies.
So I guess being adventurous pays off from time to time. Even if my scope of adventure is limited to baking in the comfort of my own kitchen!
Go ahead and keep the sky diving and snake infested wilderness. I’ll take these pumpkin bars any day.
- 2 cups (192 grams) blanched almond flour
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) coconut flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup pure pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
- ¼ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- Scant ½ cup honey, maple syrup, or a blend of both
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and salt. Add the pumpkin puree, coconut oil, egg, and sweetener. Stir well to combine.
- Divide the dough in half. Put half of the dough into a separate bowl and stir in the cocoa powder until combined. Roll the cocoa dough into small balls of varying sizes. Place them in no particular pattern into the baking dish. Do the same with the plain pumpkin dough, placing the balls into the pan in between the cocoa balls.
- Using your hands, press the dough together so that the balls mesh and form one cohesive even layer of dough in the pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Cool completely, then remove the bar "slab" from the pan using the parchment paper and cut into 12 bars. (Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for longer storage.)