I have a confession to make...I can't stand pumpkin spice lattes (PSL) or pumpkin pie. Not that I have had a PSL since I went vegan (Starbucks version contains condensed milk in the pumpkin spice syrup), but I tried them a few times when the first came out and just found them...disgustingly sweet. That being said, I have been kicking around the idea of making a pumpkin spice raw bite version for a few months now. For you. Certainly not for me.
You might be wondering how I can make and test a recipe when I don't like the flavors I am working with. Good question. Luckily my husband can eat a whole pumpkin pie in one sitting and he is always happy to be my recipe tester. My goal was also to see if I could make so that I would actually be able to tolerate them. Lofty goals. I love pumpkin baked goods and the spices combined in a pumpkin spice mixture, but for some reason I can't stand the taste in a drink or in a pie. So I accepted my own challenge.
Conceptually speaking, these are similar to my Carrot Cake Raw Bites, which my most popular and shared recipe. Crunchy bottom, creamy top. Get a head start soaking the raw cashews and lining a bread pan with parchment paper. Then go play for two hours before beginning the rest of the recipe.
In a food processor, process your nuts first and then add the rest of the bottom layer ingredients.
Pour this mixture into your lined bread pan and press down lightly to compact. I tend to use the center top of my food processor for this but it does get sticky and clean hands work just as well.
Place the pan in the freezer. Clean the food processor and then move on to the top creamy layer. Drain the soaked cashews. Take a can of coconut milk and scoop out just the top layer to use. Canned coconut milk separates, with the coconut water on the bottom and the cream on the top. You only want the cream, so make sure you don't shake the can before opening. If it's summer, I will put a can in the refrigerator so that the top solidifies just a little to make it easier to scoop the creamy portion out, but in the winter my kitchen is cool enough to achieve this clean separation on its own. I also want to point out that the pumpkin puree you want to use is not flavored at all. It's just pumpkin—nothing else, so make sure you read the can label at the grocery store. Don't buy pumpkin pie filing for this because there is all kinds of crap in there that we are substituting on our own.
Combine all the top layer ingredients in the food processor and process a few minutes—stopping to scrape down the sides often—until you get a nice, fluffy, creamy consistency.
Take the pan out of the freezer and pour the top layer on, using a spatula to spread evenly over the bottom layer.
Chop up some pecans and sprinkle on top.
Put pan back in the freezer for a few hours and then they are ready cut into bite sizes and eat. As with all raw bites, store them in an air-tight container in the freezer. They hold together better this way and are best eaten chilled.
I have a new confession to make...I actually like these. I am not turning into a PSL convert, but these are lightly flavored enough so I can actually taste the elements of each ingredient instead of just tasting sugary sweet and heavy spices. My taste-tester devoured them. In my first version of the recipe, I added a tablespoon of pumpkin puree to the base layer as well, but didn't like how sticky that made it. However, my husband liked them better because the pumpkin flavor was stronger. So feel free to do the same, or even add an extra tablespoon of pumpkin puree to the top layer if you like a bolder pumpkin flavor.
Or make them my way and enjoy the subtleness of flavors which always signify the change in the season. I hope you fall in love with my pumpkin spice raw bites. Enjoy!
Time: 30 minutes, 2 hours in freezer to set
1/2 c. raw walnuts
1/2 c. raw pecans
1 c. pitted medjool or California dates
2 tbsp. liquid, sustainably sourced coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. pumpkin spice
1/2 c. raw cashews, soaked and then drained
1/3 c. top of canned coconut milk (do not shake)
2 tbsp. pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 tbsp. liquid, sustainably sourced coconut oil (warm)
3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. pumpkin spice
1/4 c. chopped raw pecans
Two hours before beginning, soak the cashews in double the amount of water for at least 2 hours. Drain and set aside.
In your food processor, blend the pecans and walnuts10-15 seconds until they form a course meal. Add the rest of the base layer ingredients and process another 10-15 seconds to combine.
Line a bread pan with parchment or wax paper. Dump contents into pan and spread evenly with clean hands. Press down firmly to mold. Place pan in the freezer until the top layer is ready.
In the cleaned food processor or a Vitamix, add drained soaked cashews and the rest of the top layer ingredients. Process for a minute or two, stopping to scrape down sides. It is ready when it resembles a creamy consistency.
Take the pan out of the freezer and pour the top layer on. Spread evenly and garnish with chopped pecans. Put back in the freezer for a few hours until hardened.
Remove by the parchment paper and place on cutting board. Cut into bite sized pieces. Store any leftovers in the freezer.
Makes approximately 15 bites.