Pumpkin, prune and chocolate bars

I’m sure there’s a Chinese proverb about disaster being the mother of invention, or danger being the signpost to opportunity, or something like that. I’m not sure that it’s often successfully applied to baking, but there’s a first time for everything.

Earlier this week I stumbled upon Nicola Galloway’s recipe for chocolate chickpea cookies and pretty much decided I had to make them on the spot. We got through them really quickly and I figured I could whip up something quite similar, but with pumpkin instead of chickpeas, and prunes instead of dates. So this is the result – something inspired by, but completely different to, those cookies. And it’s every bit as delicious.

Pumpkin, prune and chocolate bars
These soft, slightly chewy bars are very addictive – trust me, I’ve consumed several in the course of writing this post. The mix of ingredients means they’re a perfect fit for October’s We Should Cocoa challenge, this month hosted by Hannah at Honey and Dough. The slightly random nature of how this recipe came to be also means it’s a strong contender for the October edition of Random Recipes – you can find out more about the criteria for this month here.
You do need to have some cooked pumpkin lying about for this recipe – do what I do and just throw a piece in the oven the next time it’s on and let it bake away untended. Then scrape the soft flesh into a container and freeze it to make yourself feel super organised when recipes like this come along.

1 cup prunes
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup mashed pumpkin (or – if you must – canned pumpkin puree)
100g butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Tip the prunes into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside while you get everything else ready.
Heat the oven to 180C and line a small brownie pan (measuring about 27 x 20 cm) with baking paper, leaving some overhang.
Put the rolled oats into a food processor and whiz until finely ground. Tip out into another bowl.
Drain the prunes, then tip them into the processor, along with the pumpkin, melted butter and egg. Whiz until smooth, then add the ground oats, cinnamon and baking soda and whiz again until well mixed. Add the chocolate and pulse until mixed.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and slightly springy to touch. Let cool, then cut into bars. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Have a great week, everyone x

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15 Comments

  1. October 26, 2014 / 8:49 am

    These sound great – full of all the things I love – including having pumpkin puree in the freezer – there is always something to do with the stuff

  2. October 26, 2014 / 10:43 am

    it's funny how us cooks can turn disaster into something so gorgeous… I find regular pumpkin ever so bland so roasting it first is a great way to get some flavour in there… these bars look really rather lovely a very fitting treat for halloween and a lovely entry for random recipes…

  3. October 26, 2014 / 1:39 pm

    Lucy, I would definitely like your pumpkin version best. I love chickpeas, but not in baking. In fact, there is a gluten-free flour blend that includes chickpea flour and it is horrible–I don't want my sweet baked goods to taste beany!

    • October 27, 2014 / 7:43 am

      Hi Jean, thanks for your comment. The chickpea flavour in the original cookies is not discernable, but it is a little bit weird. Interesting though!

  4. October 26, 2014 / 2:45 pm

    Ooh my Lucy, these sound super delicious. Prunes and chocolate are a bit of an under-utilised combination. I've bookmarked this one. Thanks for sharing them with We Should Cocoa – just wish it was actual rather than virtual.

    • October 27, 2014 / 7:42 am

      Thank you – however I think an actual We Should Cocoa eat-up would result in us all being extremely ill!

  5. October 26, 2014 / 6:01 pm

    Thats ALWAYS a good sign if the baker has consumed several of the bakes during the course of writing a blog post! What a great, inspired Halloween treat Lucy

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  7. October 27, 2014 / 10:15 pm

    Prunes, pumpkin and chocolate will do very nicely for an autumn evening. There'll be plenty of pumpkin around very shortly so thanks for the suggestion.

  8. October 28, 2014 / 10:21 pm

    Brilliant Lucy! What a scrumptious 'disaster' that is. They look so inviting and this really is the season to enjoy pumpkin-everything… I look forward to trying these but I'm afraid my pumpkin will come from a can 🙂 I hope all is well with you. Have a great day!

  9. November 3, 2014 / 5:37 pm

    I love the sounds of these, great combination of flavours, will certainly give them a go.

  10. January 9, 2015 / 2:08 am

    I love that you took inspiration from one recipe and turned it into something completely different, and I suspect even better. These look insanely good.

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