I had this buttercup squash (perhaps the funkiest looking squash of them all), sitting on my countertop for the longest time. It likely would have become soup had it not been for the name itself – “buttercup” which spoke to me and said: let’s make a crumbly & buttery dessert! I won’t go as far to say this is healthy, but hey, it’s the holidays and we’re making dessert, so let’s live a little. These bars are made with good quality organic ingredients (and remember: squash).
This recipe is loosely based on my recipe for raspberry crumble bars. I switched out the jam filling for a wintery buttery squash puree using Organic Valley Butter, plus a good amount of chocolate chips and snowy shredded coconut.
If you can’t get your hands on a buttercup squash – not to worry – this recipe works just the same with butternut squash, pumpkin and even mashed sweet potato. (I’ve made this one a lot lately if you couldn’t tell).
These bars are made with a walnut crust. The squash is smoothly mashed with butter, maple syrup and pumpkin pie-like spices… They’re sweet, but not too sweet, and I find them to be quite filling – although after we snapped the photo I turned around, and Jack had inhaled 5.
And wait, there’s more! Check out this awesome video of the recipe in motion:
video by: dschwen
- 1¼ cups white or wheat flour
- 1¼ cups walnuts
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons cold Organic Valley Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed (optional, but helps with cohesion)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup soft squash mash from a buttercup squash, butternut squash, or sweet potato (don't sub canned pumpkin - it’s too watery for this recipe)
- 5 tablespoons cold Organic Valley Unsalted Butter, at room temp
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup reserved crumble (from above recipe)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- For the squash butter puree: (Note: this step can be done in advance). Cut a buttercup squash in half and scoop out the seeds & insides. Place the squash cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle just a tiny bit of water inside the foil (fold the edges of the foil up a bit so it won’t leak). Poke a few holes in the top of the squash and roast until it’s soft and a fork easily slides in and out. About 45 minutes. Let squash cool then scoop the flesh out from the skin and discard the skin.
- Mash together 1 cup of the soft squash with the butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. Stir until smooth. (Taste and add more maple and/or spices to your liking - it should taste pumpkin pie-like). Store puree in the fridge until ready to use.
- For the bars:: Line an 8x8 (or similar size) baking dish with parchment paper. In a food processor pulse together the flour, walnuts, brown sugar, butter and salt until it becomes crumbly. (Similar to the texture of wet sand). If the crumble is too dry, add a few drops of water and pulse again.
- Scoop ½ cup of the crumble mixture and set it aside to use later for the topping.
- Press the rest of the crumble firmly and evenly into the baking dish. Bake the crust for about 20 minutes or until it’s lightly golden brown around the edges and dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. (note: the crust can be made and baked a day in advance)
- Spread the squash puree evenly over the pre-baked crust. Top with chocolate chips, shredded coconut and the remainder of the crumble mixture. (Optional: bake 10-15 minutes more to toast the topping and melt the chocolate).
- Chill bars in the fridge for at least a few hours to set before slicing. To slice, use a knife to gently loosen the edges, then (very) carefully lift the parchment paper out of the pan. Use a sharp knife to slice bars into 1x2 inch rectangles. Enjoy, then store remaining bars in the fridge.
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