Thanksgiving Dessert: Gluten Free Spiced Acorn Squash Bars

It is tough to eat locally in the winter.  Squash, greens, root vegetables, and sweet potatoes–that about sums up the winter harvest that starts in November and takes us into early March. It’s a long time to eat the same thing over and over again.  Being creative is the key to embracing the limited choices at the winter farmers markets. So, let’s talk squash.

Acorn squash has a similar taste, texture, and sweetness to pumpkin, so why not use it for desserts? It will be around long after the pumpkins are gone from the market tables.  If the urge hits you to bake more pumpkin bread in January, you don’t have to turn to the canned stuff.  You can use acorn squash or butternut, too.  As for for the gluten, I am not a gluten-free eater.  I love bread.  I love pastries.  I love pasta.  I am thankful that I can eat these things without issue. I know many people who cannot.  Eating gluten is harmful to them.  Gluten-free is more than a fad or a choice.  For many people, it is a health issue.  I have had some amazing gluten-free pastries and cookies.  I am still learning how to adapt recipes to make them without wheat flour.  I have found that almond meal or almond flour works well for more dense cakes like these bars.

My family had no idea these were gluten-free when they devoured the first batch.  I’d call that a success!

Gluten Free Spiced Acorn Squash Bars with Mascarpone Cream

  • ½ c. acorn squash puree
  • ½ c, brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond flour or meal
  • ¼ c. arrowroot powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Place dry ingredients: almond flour, arrowroot, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl. Using a whisk, combine thoroughly.
  3. In another bowl, combine squash puree, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate.
  5. Line an 8×8-baking pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into the pan and spread evenly.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until springs back when lightly touched.
  7. Cool on a rack.  When completely cooled, cut into squares.

For the Mascarpone Cream:

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 3-4 tbs. powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Place ingredients in a chilled mixing bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Spoon into a piping bag with a star tip.  Pipe on to each bar.  Grate a little nutmeg or sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon over the top and serve!

IMG_7258 IMG_7264

bgd14_square_800x800

Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and delicious food. Luckily, the food blogging community is all about these things as well. To celebrate the holiday, Meghan from Cake ‘n’ Knife and Susannah from Feast + West are hosting Blogsgiving Dinner. There are 20 awesome blogs sharing 52 recipes

The idea is based on the old-fashioned progressive dinner party, in which you’d eat each course at a different guest’s home. Each blogger is bringing one or more dishes to the party on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week, so be sure to stop by each one and get some ideas for your own Thanksgiving meal.  Today’s bloggers have recipes for dessert and after-dinner drinks, as well as ideas for eating leftovers.

We’ll be posting to social media with the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner. Hope you can join us!

Blogsgiving Progressive Dinner Menu

Friday, Nov. 14

Dessert

Grandma’s Pecan Pie from The Wetherills Say I Do

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting from My Cooking Spot

Gluten-Free Apple Berry Crumble from Twin Stripe

Paleo Pumpkin Pudding from Wit Wisdom Food

Cranberry Almond Coconut Bars from Love & Flour

Torched Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie with Olive & Sinclair Chocolate from The Local Forkful

Poached Pears with Salted Maple Caramel Syrup from Home at Six

Sweet Potato Pie from Think Fruitful

Nutella Pumpkin S’mores Tart from bethcakes

Gluten-Free Acorn Squash Spice Bars from I Cook. I Eat. It’s Life.

Drunken Pecan Pie Bars from The Speckled Palate

After-Dinner Drinks

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider from A Savory Feast

Cranberry Bourbon Granita from Feast + West

Leftovers

Cheesy Potato Croquettes from Hello Little Home

Leftover Stuffed Egg Rolls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce from Cake ‘n’ Knife

Freezer-Friendly Turkey and Rice Casserole from Betty Becca

Turkey and Cranberry Quesadilla from Glamour Girl Gourmet

Stuffed Crescents with Thanksgiving Leftovers from My Cooking Spot

Sweet Potato Crunch

A Thanksgiving staple in our home growing up was sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallow topping.  The sweet potatoes were actually yams..from a can.  My mother doctored them with extra brown sugar and butter.  Then, she adorned them with mounds of marshmallows and carefully toasted them under the broiler.  It was a family favorite.

I have graduated to a more homemade sweet potato side dish albeit one that is just as sweet as my mom’s old standby.  I believe you need a little sweet on your plate at Thanksgiving–but don’t eat too much–save room for the pie!

Sweet Potato Crunch

  • 8 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Topping:

  • 1 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into cubes.  Place in a stockpot of water and bring to a boil.  Boil for 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.  Drain and place in a food processor.
  2. Process the sweet potatoes until smooth.  Pour into a bowl and add the butter, spices, salt, and maple syrup.
  3. Spread the mixture into a 12″ cast iron skillet or 9×9 baking dish.
  4. Mix the pecans, brown sugar.  Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture.
  5. Bake in a 350 F oven for 25-30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are bubbly and pecans are toasted.

IMG_1549

bgd14_square_800x800

Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and delicious food. Luckily, the food blogging community is all about these things as well. To celebrate the holiday, Meghan from Cake ‘n’ Knife and Susannah from Feast + West are hosting Blogsgiving Dinner. There are 20 awesome blogs sharing 52 recipes

The idea is based on the old-fashioned progressive dinner party, in which you’d eat each course at a different guest’s home. Each blogger is bringing one or more dishes to the party on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week, so be sure to stop by each one and get some ideas for your own Thanksgiving meal.  Be sure to check out today’s recipes for entrees, salads and side dishes.

We’ll be posting to social media with the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner. Hope you can join us!

Blogsgiving Progressive Dinner Menu

 Wednesday, Nov. 12

Salads

Pomegranate & Goat Cheese Salad from Feast + West

Persimmon & Pear Salad from Wit Wisdom and Food

Roasted Butternut Squash & Gorgonzola Salad from Hello Little Home

Entrees

The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey from My Cooking Spot

Roasted Turducken from The Speckled Palate

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Orange-Cranberry Reduction from Home at Six

Beer Brined Turkey with Bacon Gravy from Cake ‘n’ Knife

Smoked Mushroom Steaks with Herbed Bread Crumbs (Vegan) from Betty Becca

Side Dish

Turkey, Apple & Sweet Potato Pot Pies from Love & Flour

Creamy Pumpkin Apple Pasta Bake from My Cooking Spot

Mushroom Spinach Farro from Think Fruitful

Bacon and Cornbread Stuffing from Chez CateyLou

Sweet Potato Crunch from I Cook. I Eat. It’s Life.

Blue Cheese & Bacon Mashed Potatoes from A Savory Feast

Sausage Stuffing from the Wetherills Say I Do

Butternut Squash Grits from Homespun Seasonal Living

Wine

Thanksgiving Wine Pairings from Twin Stripe

Thanksgiving in a Cocktail

Happy Blogsgiving!  What is that, you say? It’s a pre-Thanksgiving blogging event that takes place this week.  I am honored to participate.  I am certain you will enjoy meeting the other bloggers and love the great recipes they are sharing, so be sure to read down to the end of the page.   Now…on to the cocktail!

This cocktail is so simple it is almost criminal…seriously, S-I-M-P-L-E. This is mainly because the liqueur of choice is The Brothers Vilgalys’ wonderful elixir, Krupnikas Spiced Honey Liqueur. It has become the Thanksgiving cocktail of choice in our family since we discovered it two years ago. It has all of the flavors of fall and packs enough punch to make you forget any drama that may happen around the Thanksgiving table when the whole family comes together. Trust me, this…I know.

If you don’t have access to Krupnikas (I am so sorry), you could use vodka and spiced honey simple syrup. The key to using these ingredients is steeping the spices in the honey simple syrup for a long time. You want the spices to be bold in this cocktail. After all, it’s Thanksgiving—the holiday celebrated with cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg.   Cheers!

Krupnikas Ginger

3 oz. Fentimans Ginger Beer (or any other strong, full-bodied brew)

1 1/2 oz. Krupnikas Spiced Honey Liqueur

1 lime wedge

Place the Krupnikas Honey Liqueur and lime wedge into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with ice and add the ginger beer. Stir gently and garnish with a slice of lime.

IMG_7606 IMG_7614

bgd14_square_800x800

Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and delicious food. Luckily, the food blogging community is all about these things as well. To celebrate the holiday, Meghan from Cake ‘n’ Knife and Susannah from Feast + West are hosting Blogsgiving Dinner. There are 20 awesome blogs sharing 52 recipes

The idea is based on the old-fashioned progressive dinner party, in which you’d eat each course at a different guest’s home. Each blogger is bringing one or more dishes to the party on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week, so be sure to stop by each one and get some ideas for your own Thanksgiving meal.  Today’s courses include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and soup.

We’ll be posting to social media with the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner. Hope you can join us!

Blogsgiving Progressive Dinner Menu

Monday, Nov. 10

Cocktails

Carolina Apple Sidecar from Think Fruitful

Bourbon Cranberry Lemonade Fizz from bethcakes

Krupnikas Ginger from I Cook. I Eat. It’s Life.

Appetizers

Cured Meat Platter from Wit Wisdom and Food

Baked Camembert with Cranberry Walnut Crust from Cake ‘n’ Knife

Ginger Cran Apple Chutney from Love & Flour

Brandied Grapes with Cheese from Glamour Girl Gourmet

Shrimp Sweet Potato Mousseline from Home at Six

Cranberry Goat Cheese and Butternut Squash Crostini from The Wetherills Say I Do

Maple Pecan Baked Brie from My Cooking Spot

Sassy Salmon Dip from Betty Becca

Baked Brie with Cranberry Chutney from The Speckled Palate

Butternut Squash Crostini from Chez CateyLou

Gluten Free Holiday Cheese Board from Twin Stripe

Soup

Butternut Squash Soup with Cornbread Croutons from Club Narwhal

Creamy Wild Rice Soup from Hello Little Home

Pumpkin Soup with Bacon Roasted Chickpeas from Feast + West

Keeping it Simple

Thanksgiving–what a perfect day to start a blog about food!  I mean, come on…it IS all about the food.  I am quite traditional when it comes to the Thanksgiving meal.  I make what my mom always made.  You know, the usual: roast turkey, stuffing (or dressing, depending on where you grew up), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and dinner rolls.  Then there are the pies: pumpkin and pecan…always pecan.

This year, I asked the pro (aka Mom) to make the pies so I could focus on the meal.  It was smart request and lowered my stress level immensely.  Her pecan pie is legendary among family and friends.  It always comes out perfect and it makes the best post-Thanksgiving breakfast ever!

I hope your Thanksgiving was as delicious and memory-filled as mine.  I am thankful for the opportunity to share mine with you.  Until we cook again….

The turkey, massaged with olive oil, sage, thyme, salt, & pepper, ready to go into the oven.

The turkey, massaged with olive oil, sage, thyme, salt, & pepper, ready to go into the oven.

Oh, how I love a crispy skin on my roast poultry!

Oh, how I love a crispy skin on my roast poultry!We opted for mashed sweet potatoes with lots of butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, & nutmeg.  Top with sugared pecans and listen to everyone say, "Wow!"

We opted for mashed sweet potatoes with lots of butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Top with sugared pecans and listen to everyone say, “Wow!”
The pies...legendary, delicious, and made with lots of love.

The pies…legendary, delicious, and made with lots of love.