INGREDIENTS: for the crust:
1¼ cups white or wheat flour
1¼ cups walnuts
½ cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold 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
5 tablespoons cold 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: 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.