Marbled Pumpkin Chocolate Bars

October 1st, 2013 at 6:06 am

Marbled Pumpkin Chocolate Bars from

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.

Marbled Pumpkin Chocolate 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:

Marbled Pumpkin Chocolate Bars

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.

Marbled Pumpkin Chocolate Bars

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.


Marbled Pumpkin Chocolate Bars

Yield: Makes 12 bars

These incredibly moist grain-free pumpkin bars resemble a cross between pumpkin pie and brownies in texture. If you are using fresh pumpkin puree in the dough, make sure it is very well drained and similar to the consistency of canned pumpkin.


2 cups (192 grams) blanched almond flour

2 tablespoons (15 grams) coconut flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree (canned is fine)

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted

1 large egg, room temperature

Scant 1/2 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.)


  1. These look wonderful Hallie! I have a serious love of anything pumpkin so I will try these – I have all of the ingredients except the mighty pumpkin and you had me at the cheesecake texture:)

    I’m very much like you with the schedule, getting somewhere early but I like my adventures too so I can take my camera and snap away. I just don’t like dangerous adventures {shudder}!

  2. Hallie, if you could be paid enough to jump out of an airplane, then you are brave. NOTHING – absolutely NOTHING – could persuade me to do that! There might be an exception if I would otherwise die… I, too, like structure in my life, but like some adventure as well. BTW, on an excursion in North Vietnam we learned that water buffalo are very docile, except when their horns point forward. :-)

  3. Hi Hallie,
    I love this recipe (and all things pumpkin) but I am intolerant to coconut. What do you think would be a good substitution?

    • Esther: You can try replacing the 2 tablespoons of coconut flour with 1/4 cup additional almond flour. The coconut oil can be replaced with grapeseed oil or, if you can tolerate dairy, melted butter.

  4. Hi Hallie;

    This recipe sounds yummy. What could I use to substitute the egg in this recipe?


  5. Hallie, I am allergic to coco powder, can I use the same amount of carob? The bars look great and I like the way you marbled them.

  6. Patty Calvano said on October 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I can’t wait to try these! I am always looking for something filling my son will eat. He can’t tolerate a lot of eggs, but 1 in the entire recipe is not a problem. It seems like coconut flour recipes always have lots of eggs. The coconut flour must require egg for binder rather than flax, etc.? Anyway, these look Yummmmy!

  7. Hi Hallie! This looks SO Delicious! Thanks for sharing, we love all things pumpkin :)


  8. Stephanie said on October 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Hi Hallie –

    Yummy!! So happy to see these are grain free! Been craving pumpkin, and fall, and cider, and crunchy leaves….but it is still more summer like here than fall like. I made these bars this morning, but I doubled it, used a 9×13 greased pan, and used 2 T flax meal + 6 T hot water for the eggs. They turned out perfect! Thank you SO much! They are SO good!


  9. Love love love these Hallie – especially the pics :) I bought a pie pumpkin today and I’m so excited to get going on all things pumpkin!

  10. These are my new favorite! I pulled them out of the oven an hour ago and made myself wait until they cooled a bit to try them (of course, waiting for them to get refrigerated was out of the question). Delicious! My subs: 1 chia egg in place of the egg (I T. chia meal + 3 T. water), 1/4 cup maple syrup + 1/4 cup xylitol instead of 1/2 cup syrup. I put pecan halves on top, one per square. They are wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. These are perfectly delicious! Thank you SO much!

  12. These look so amazing. I love the idea of a brownie-cheesecake hybrid texture! This is going to be my Halloween treat :)

  13. These look wonderful Hallie! I love how simple the recipe is.

  14. mary wynn said on October 3, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Hi… this looks so good. I am allergic to almonds. Can I use another flour?

    • Mary: You can try using finely ground pumpkin seeds or, if you can tolerate hazelnuts, then you could try hazelnut flour. (I like to finely grind my nuts and seeds in a coffee grinder.) I haven’t made this recipe with pumpkin seeds or hazelnuts, so I can’t guarantee that it will work, but let me know if you try it out! :)

  15. What would be a good sub for the almond flour? My son has a severe nut allergy.

    • Kim: You can try using finely ground pumpkin seeds. (I grind mine in a coffee grinder.) I haven’t tried this so I can’t guarantee that it will work. It’s worth a try, though. :)

  16. Brianna Tittel said on October 3, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I made these yesterday…amazing!

  17. I don’t use oil so thoughts on a sub?

  18. Umm…. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to find Almond Flour or Coconut flour. Is there a non-gluten free version?

    • Since I eat gluten-free, these are the types of recipes I develop, so unfortunately I don’t have a non gluten-free version of this recipe. I’m sure there is something non gluten-free on the web that is similar if you give it a quick Google search.

  19. I love the seasonality of these Hallie!

  20. Patty Calvano said on October 15, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    I made 2 batches–one with egg and one with flaxmeal. Both were wonderful! I will definitely make these again. . .and again. . .

    • HELP!! I just made these with no substitutions…but mine were a total FAIL!! The batter was too wet to form into the little doug balls with my hands so i spooned them into the pan. I baked them for 30 mins and they never really “cooked.” They are super mushy so i couldnt possibly cut them. Luckily it was a practice run for a bake sale! Hope you can tell me what i did wrong!

      • Karen: Did you use fresh or canned pumpkin? If you used fresh pumpkin puree, it was likely too wet and that’s what may have caused the problem. It needs to be very thick and well drained, like the texture of canned pumpkin. If you make them again in the future, try adding a smidge more almond or coconut flour to attain the moist dough-like texture.

        • thanks for writing back…i did use canned pumpkin and i added extra flours when it looked much wetter than your pictures. Maybe less pumpkin next time or a different brand? Do you drain the canned pumpkin in a strainer first? Maybe i can try that…Cant bring it to a bake sale though LOL!

  21. I see people speaking of substitutions for the almond flour. I don’t have the resources for pumpkin seed flour..Do you think I can just use a GF all purpose flour? What are your suggestions?

  22. These look delicious and I’m thinking of making these for a Thanksgiving potluck we feel led to host. Do you think I could freeze these ahead of time and thaw them the day of the dinner?

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