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.