Keto as a Way of Life
Easy Keto Pumpkin Bars
Fall is also when we consume the most of one of our favorite foods; Pumpkin!
Arguably, it’s the spices that tend to go with the Pumpkin, but there’s just something about that magical, giant, orange fruit that embodies everything we love about this season.
And yes… a pumpkin is technically a squash and squashes are fruits.
Because of that, it does have some carbs. 10-11 grams of Net carbs per cup of pumpkin puree, in fact. There’s some wiggle room on the exact number of carbs because, depending on the growing season and lots of other factors, some pumpkins will have more or less sugar content.
The long and short of it is, however, on Keto, pumpkin is one of those foods that you need to limit in order to stay within your macros. But if you’re going to eat it, it might as well be as Keto-friendly as possible, right?!
The taste testing has been… epic!
We have to have new things to share on the blog, right? This is the sacrifice that we’re willing to make for our readers. See how dedicated we are to you?!
These are really easy to make and have that spicy, pumpkiny taste of Fall that we love so much.
How to Make our Easy Keto Pumpkin Bars
Ingredients – Notes
The butter and cream cheese.
Let these sit out and get to room temperature before you put them into your mixer. If you skip this step, your bars won’t have a smooth texture. There will be little chunks in it. See the picture here.
Watkins makes some of the best extracts on the market. Their Maple hits the mark in a big way!
The flavor of their Maple extract will make you think you poured syrup in your recipe. Just don't use more than a few drops for a recipe because you'll quickly overwhelm the dish with maple flavor, which turns sort of bitter.
The flavors of Watkins extracts don't get lost in other ingredients or when they are baked.
The recipe calls for a blend of nuts. Pecans are great in this recipe, but whatever mixture of nuts and seeds you have on hand is perfect as long as they’re Keto (so no peanuts or cashews) and you don’t have any sort of allergy to them.
You can use pumpkin pie spice if you like, but I make my own. I’ve included that recipe below as well.
Monkfruit quickly became our favorite Keto sweetener. It tastes good, has no aftertaste that we can discern and it doesn’t affect our blood glucose at all. It also stands up to heat better than most other Keto sweeteners.
The only downside is that it’s a little more expensive than other sweeteners, but we think it’s worth it.
Granulated (aka Classic) Monkfruit is a substitute for white sugar, and can be used as a 1:1 replacement in most recipes.
Learn More About Sweeteners
Interested in learning a little more about sweeteners and where they rank for Keto?
We put together a handy chart of 55 sweeteners commonly used on the market today. The chart shows you which sweeteners are actually sugar, which ones are bad chemicals or natural, where they land on the Glycemic Index and more.
We also rank each sweetener on the list as Good, Bad, or Ugly for Keto.
You can use a hand mixer to cream the butter and everything together, but I prefer my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Put everything in the bowl, turn it on and let it work while you prep the rest of your recipe. It’s one of those multi-function kitchen tools that has absolutely spoiled me. I don’t know how I made anything before I got the thing. Click the image (affiliate link) and get one for yourself. Write to me later and let me know how awesome it is.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
By itself, a KitchenAid stand mixer is one of the best inventions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
The ability to add attachments turns this gadget into a miracle worker.
We use Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer to make our own butter which is super easy! Also, we use ours whip up Keto cake batters, to grind meat for our own Keto-friendly sausage, and a ton of other kitchen tasks.
It's a multi-purpose powerhouse!
Thanks for Reading
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Easy Keto Pumpkin Bars
These Pumpkin Squares are super easy, really yummy, and perfect a great Fall treat. Honestly, they're good any time of year though!
For the Squares
To Make the Bars
Set Cream Cheese and Butter out on the counter for a couple hours so they reach room temperature. If you skip this step, they won't mix into a smooth texture.
Add cream cheese, 1 stick of butter and confectioners monkfruit to your stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) and cream together on medium speed for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle in the pumpkin pie spice slowly. Make sure not to drop too much in one area. This will prevent clumping. Continue mixing until the spice is well mixed in.
Mix in the maple extract.
When everything is combined, give it a sample taste to make sure it's as sweet as you want it. You can add a bit more confectioners monkfruit here, but I caution against adding too much. It can leave your squares almost bitter if you get them too sweet.
When everything is blended evenly and smooth, pour the mixture into a plastic or foil-lined dish, approximately 5"x7" inches. Smooth it out evenly.
To Make the Topping
Put the nuts/seeds into a ziplock bag and give them a few light hits with a kitchen mallet, rolling pin or iron skillet; just whatever you have that will crush them up a bit. Give them a coarse crushing.
Pour the nuts/seeds mixture into a small microwave safe container and add the butter. Heat for 10 seconds in the microwave, then stir, then heat for a few more seconds and stir. Repeat that until the butter is melted and coating the nuts. You're not trying to get them hot here. Just melt the butter and coat everything.
Add the spices, salt and monkfruit sweetener, then mix until everything is combined.
Spoon the nut mixture on top of the pumpkin mixture, creating an even coating on top. Lightly press the nuts into the top and level everything out with the back of a spoon.
Put your bars in the fridge for a few hours. 8 hours or over night is best, if you can keep your hands off of them that long.
When you take them out, turn them out onto a cutting board and remove the plastic/foil liner. Cut them into squares. We got 15 squares out of them, but cut them as big or as small as you like.
We cut these into 15 squares, but you can cut them into any size you like.
If you get more or less bars than we got, just know that you'll have to recalculate the macros. Here are the macros for the entire recipe, to make things a little easier for you.
If you get 10 bars, for example, just divide all these numbers by 10 and you'll have your macros per bar. Easy peasy, right?
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A few of our readers asked us what we’re using to test our blood for Ketones. We did a bunch of research and found that Keto Mojo (affiliate link) had great reviews. We ordered one and started using it. We’ve been really happy with it, and I have no problem recommending it. It’s far more accurate than the Ketone strips you pee on.
The downside is that the strips themselves are a little pricy, especially if you’re checking your ketones every day. They’re worth it, though, if you want to keep an eye on how certain foods effect your blood and make sure you’re not being knocked out of ketosis by something you’re eating.