Buttercup Squash Crumble Bars

The ultimate fall dessert - these crumbly, creamy butternut squash bars are topped with chocolate and coconut. (Plus a video!!)

Buttercup Squash Crumble Bars

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.

Buttercup Squash Crumble Bars

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).

Buttercup Squash Crumble Bars

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.

Buttercup Squash Crumble Bars

And wait, there’s more! Check out this awesome video of the recipe in motion:

video by: dschwen


5.0 from 4 reviews
Buttercup Squash Crumble Bars
 
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 16-20 small bars
Ingredients
for the crust:
  • 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
for the squash butter puree:
  • 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
for the topping:
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup reserved crumble (from above recipe)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Scoop ½ cup of the crumble mixture and set it aside to use later for the topping.
  6. 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)
  7. 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).
  8. 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.

This post is sponsored by Organic Valley, thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking!

39 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Not only do these bars look spectacular (I love squash-based desserts), I gotta give you a high five for your Organic Valley shout out. They’re an amazing company that I try to support whenever I can 🙂

    • jeanine
      12.19.2014

      Thanks! I like them too 🙂

    • jeanine
      12.19.2014

      we didn’t do it – but isn’t it so cool? I loved seeing my recipe in motion 🙂

  2. That video is fantastic! And love the first shot. It almost looks golden. So festive! Yaaaahm

  3. Lili
    12.19.2014

    Yummy! Can’t wait to try it. What a great way to get those yellow veggies into dessert.

  4. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I tried it with sweet potatoes and they were superb!

    • jeanine
      12.19.2014

      So glad you liked them!

  5. This looks and sounds incredible! I’ve never met a buttercup before, but I think dessert would be the perfect introduction. Thanks for sharing!

    • Alene
      10.29.2016

      What might be in your gluten free recipe?

    • jeanine
      12.20.2014

      We didn’t do the video ourselves – a stop motion artist made it, we’re not that talented 🙂

  6. Brionna
    12.19.2014

    This is meant to be a 100% compliment. I saw the photo and read the recipe name and then said out loud “You saucy minx.” I cannot wait to make this for my holiday party tomorrow night!

  7. Foodeaser
    12.20.2014

    Sounds Great I love it

  8. These look delicious! I can’t wait to make them for the holidays.

  9. This looks and sounds so amazing. I love that you used buttercup squash in it. The name is just too perfect. I need to pick up some squash because I am really craving these bars!

  10. I always enjoy your videos. And I have made your raspberry walnut bars several times, so I’m all over this squash/pumpkin version. What do you think about adding an egg to the squash butter puree to make a more set custard texture?

  11. Joel Sanders
    12.22.2014

    Nice & creative. A must try!

  12. Joel Sanders
    12.22.2014

    Nice & creative. A must try!

  13. Arlene
    12.29.2014

    what is the baking time for the bars? These sound absolutely yummy!

    • jeanine
      12.29.2014

      You bake the crust fully, for about 20 minutes (in step 6) and then you can, if you want to, bake them just to toast the topping a little (10-15 minutes). The most important part is that they chill in the fridge to set up before slicing.

      • Arlene
        12.29.2014

        So, the squash mixture, once poured into the pan, does not need baking?

        • jeanine
          12.29.2014

          nope, the puree should be a little on the thick side (which is why I don’t recommend canned pumpkin puree) and then it firms up more in the fridge.

          • Arlene
            12.30.2014

            O.k., thank you so much for the answer. I will bake these as soon as I can

  14. Kate from holajalapeno.com
    01.01.2015

    What a delicious combo. I love anything in the squash family, especially when combined with walnuts= win and win.

  15. Jennifer
    02.02.2015

    Just made these with sweet potato and I am IN LOVE.

  16. Nancy
    11.19.2017

    These bars have become a Thanksgiving staple! I have to use a plane gram cracker crust because my husband is allergic to nuts, but everything else is awesome and we love them!

    • Nancy
      11.19.2017

      OMG, my spelling! Plain and Graham, sorry!!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.