You can always tell what time of the year it is by observing the recipes being shared by magazines and blogs. Our Canadian Thanksgiving has passed, so has Halloween. Since November 1st, our stores and streets have transformed into worlds of glitter, sales (not real ones), and awful music. So if it wasn’t for the internet being filled with millions of new stuffing recipes, more pumpkin pie versions that I ever imagined existed, and even more brilliant new ways to brine a turkey, I may not have known that American Thanksgiving was approaching. I don’t mean to sound bitter, I’m actually quite thankful for American Thanksgiving, as it helps some of us get away from two whole months out of every year being Christmas, at least when it comes to what we read online. The holiday season is great, I like it, I really do, and I like sales and sometimes even glitter, just not two whole months of it all. So…on this American Thanksgiving I am thankful to our American neighbours for helping us hold out just a little while longer :)
To add to the pumpkin pie love going around, I’d like to share some choco-coco squash bars, another recipe that I contributed to Divya Yadava’s Fall/Winter 2012 Magazine. When I started thinking about squash desserts, Divya encouraged me to try something pumpkin pie-like using squash. Not being a big fan of pumpkin pie, I researched some pumpkin-based recipes to figure out what it was that I didn’t like about it and realized that a standard recipe uses a ton of sugar (in addition to the already quite sweet pumpkin puree) and a sweet crust. That was it. I played around for a while and settled on this combination, which has roasted squash, coconut milk, cocoa powder, sweet spices, and a little bit of maple syrup for the filling. It sits on a simple nutty crust. The flavours are complex, thanks to the coconut and chocolate, and the filling is rich and creamy but not too sweet.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends and the rest of us who wish we had just a little less Christmas!
- 1 cup ground almonds
- ½ cup ground pecans
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbsp. water
- 2 cups roasted buttercup squash, peeled
- 1 -400 ml can of coconut milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ground ginger powder
- ½ tsp. ground cloves
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp. shredded coconut (topping)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- a medium bowl, combine the first 5 (crust) ingredients and make sure they’re well incorporated.
- Line the bottom of a 9 X 9 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Press the crust mix firmly and evenly into the bottom.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Lower oven heat to 325°F.
- the meantime make the filling. In a blender puree the roasted squash, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and spices.
- Taste the filling and adjust maple syrup and spices.
- Beat the egg with a fork, and stir it in to the rest of the mixture. Make sure it is well incorporated.
- Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, do not open it, and allow the squares to continue setting and cooling gradually, for at least an hour. This step is very important for avoiding cracks.
- Once the pan is cool enough to handle without oven mitts, remove it from the oven and let the squares cool completely at room temperature. Cover them and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or best, overnight.
- Sprinkle the top with 1 Tbsp. of shredded coconut, cut into 16 squares, and serve chilled.