We're deep in the season of Pumpkin Spice everything, it's literally inescapable. I was craving pumpkin pie, but wanted something creamier, and definitely on the lighter side, so I threw this recipe together (by heavily modifying this and using this for the crust) and was very pleased with the result.
For the crust:
- 1.5 c oats
- 1/4 c flaxmeal
- dash salt
- 1 T cinnamon
- 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
- 2 T maple syrup (can use less if desired)
For the filling:
- 1/3 c 1/3 less fat cream cheese (softened--I microwaved for 1 minute on power level 3 for optimal consistency/texture. If you don't soften, it will clump and not blend into rest of filling)
- 1 can pure pumpkin puree
- 1 c Nonfat Plain Greek yogurt
- 1 T pumpkin pie spice
- 1.5 t vanilla extract
- 1/4 c maple syrup
- 2.5 t cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, spray a baking dish with oil/coat with oil. I used a 7x11 pyrex, an 8x8 or 9x9 would work as well. You can obviously use butter, but I used spray coconut oil.
- Combine oats, flaxmeal, salt, and cinnamon in food processor. Blend until oats are oat-flour like.
- Add applesauce and maple syrup. Pulse to combine. This will form a clumpy dough.
- Press dough into baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, combine cream cheese, pumpkin, Greek yogurt, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, maple syrup, and cornstarch in food processor (hint: you don't need to wash food processor after making the crust!). Taste the filling and make sure the sweetness is to your desired level (be careful tasting the filling, it is so delicious you will want to eat all of it). Do not over process, the batter will form bubbles which will turn into cracks in the oven (I over processed, but let the batter sit while I waited for the crust to cool which removed most of the air bubbles).
- When the crust is finished, remove from oven and let the crust cool for 5 minutes.
- After the crust has cooled at least 5 minutes, pour batter into baking dish.
- Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and keep the bars inside for 5 more minutes (helps prevent cracking as well).
- Let cool 1 hour at room temperature. Cut into bars, eat, and store the remaining bars in the fridge (if there are any).
- You could try making these in a mini cupcake pan, or crust free!
- I modified the crust from this recipe, which has a grain-free option using almond flour. You could try this with almond flour instead of oats.
- I definitely plan on making without using any cream cheese next time, to see how that turns out.
- If you like a crispier crust, cook longer and use less applesauce. You could substitute coconut oil for the applesauce as well, and try different sweeteners (or no sweetener at all!).
- This will satisfy your inner basic's pumpkin spice craving without the heaviness of a latte, pie, roll, or rich cheesecake.