Prep 30 mins
Cook 30 mins
Completely sugar free dessert! I've been experimenting with a sweetener called "Xylitol" that I buy online and will gradually post recipes with my successful results. I promise never to post a recipe that hasn't passed the "Kid Test". I have four kids who are very, very finicky eaters. My kids CAN tell that these aren't made from real sugar - mostly because I don't have real sugar in my house anymore. But they still love these. I have also served these to friends without anyone knowing they weren't "normal" pumpkin bars. I started looking for a sugar substitute when a dear friend had surgery and became completely intolerant to any processed sugar. Splenda doesn't agree with me and I always prefer 'natural' options when possible. Xylitol IS more expensive than sugar, so experimentation is frustrating sometimes. I hope you will enjoy my successes without having to endure the waste I've had. It has 40% less calories than sugar, 75% less carbs, and has a glycemic index of 7 (compared to sugar at 68 and corn syrup at 100) and my friend can enjoy sweets once again! The key to using this in place of sugar is to MELT the xylitol before adding it to the recipes. I just melt mine in my pyrex measuring bowl in the microwave. I have found it's very important to MELT the Xylitol but not BOIL or otherwise over-heat it, because it does alter it's consistency like sugar. If you heat it too long, when it cools, it becomes rock hard. (I'm still figuring out how to use this to my advantage in fudge and caramels - I'll post when I get a successful outcome.) This pumpkin bar recipe is an adaptation of one I have in an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I also use only whole-wheat flour and try to skim some of the fat (though not all, in order to keep a nice degree of moistness). I buy my Xylitol online. Some bigger cities might have natural/health food stores that sell it in the store, but nothing near me. I pay about $25 per 5 pound bag, so shop around. For me and my family, the switch is worth it.
- 1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1⁄2 cup wheat gluten (keeps the whole wheat texture 'lighter')
- 2 cups Xylitol sweetener
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon clove, ground
- 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
- 15 ounces canned pumpkin
- 1⁄3 cup cooking oil (I use Smart Balance oil)
- 1⁄2 cup sugar-free applesauce
- 4 eggs (I use 4 egg whites and 2 whole eggs)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1⁄2 cup butter, softened (I use Smart Balance spread)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups Xylitol sweetener
- Bar directions:.
- All Xylitol measurements refer to the measurement of the dry powder, not the melted liquid.
- Melt the xylitol. It takes about 10 minutes for my microwave to melt the xylitol, but microwave times vary. It will be as clear as water when melted - don't let it boil! It's okay to stir it occasionally while melting it. Your wooden spoon will get a crusty layer that washes off easily. Xylitol isn't sticky even when hardened and clean up is a breeze! The xylitol when melted is very, very hot. Be careful and use something that can withstand the temperature - I've used ordinary glass mixing bowls and pyrex measuring bowls without problems. Plastic would probably melt. 2 cups of crystal Xylitol will be less than 2 cups of melted Xylitol - that's okay. It's sweeter than sugar!
- USE OVEN MITS WHEN HANDLING YOUR BOWL OF MELTED XYLITOL. It's that hot.
- In a mixer, blend all ingredients together except the xylitol, flour, gluten and eggs.
- Slowly pour the melted xylitol 'syrup' into the mixing bowl and mix.
- Add flour and gluten.
- Pour mixture into a 10x15x2 cake pan - spray first with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.
- Frosting Directions:.
- I've had the hardest time adapting frosting to the Xylitol. I kept trying to use the same volume of Xylitol crystals as sugar. By the time the melted mixture returned to room temperature, the darn stuff would be rock hard and inedible. However, if you don't melt the Xylitol and try to use the crystals creamed with your butter/margarine, it stays too crystallized and gives the frosting an unpleasantly crunchy texture.
- I've finally come upon the perfect balance. It's still very sweet but stays creamy when spread and it's so much better for you!
- So, melt your Xylitol as before. I use my small mixing bowl for this. I have to use oven mits to move the mixing bowl from the microwave to my mixer stand.
- Carefully add your butter or margarine. If you 'plop' it in, hot Xylitol splatters could burn you!
- Add Vanilla.
- Add the cream cheese in small dollops.
- Start the mixer at low speed. Mix until no visible 'lumps' of cream cheese are seen. Blend at low speed for 3-5 minutes.
- Allow frosting to cool on mixer stand. Periodically (every 5-10 minutes or so) turn the mixer on for short 3-5 minute bursts on slow speed. This seems to keep the cooling frosting creamy and prevent hard 'chunks' from forming.
- When cooled to room temperature, spread on your cooled pan of pumpkin bars. For me, if I start the frosting as soon as the bars start cooking, they're usually cooled and ready at the same time.
This recipe looks great, but there needs to be a big huge warning that Xylitol will kill dogs if they ingest it.