These Pumpkin Brownies are naturally sweetened with Medjool dates! Moist, fudgy and seriously delicious. Made grain-free and gluten-free with just a bit of coconut flour. Vegan-friendly.
I’m having one of those weeks where I keep having to change my schedule. The Type-A in me resists at first, but then I quickly come to my senses and realize I must adapt.
Change is a constant in our lives. It took me a while to realize this.
I wish there were more education for high schoolers regarding change, different types of personalities and developing self-awareness. Although now that I think about it, I highly doubt most teenagers would be mature enough to handle any lessons regarding the matter. I’m trying to think of other random life lessons I learned in high school and nothing is sticking…
But I look back even on some of my early college years, where I lived and died by my planner. I distinctly remember my hip hop teacher calling me out after class one day. He wanted me to come with him and a bunch of other students to dance it up and I said something along the lines of “I have to check my planner.”
He gaffed at me and asked if I always consulted my planner before doing anything. And went on to say that life is not meant to be lived by a calendar.
He obviously had a point. I still love my planner and having a schedule. But the difference between now and then is that I no longer get worked up when I have to make changes to my schedule at the last minute. I just have to gather my thoughts and tell myself to go with the flow.
Ya know what I am saying?
Kind of like what I had to do with these brownies, actually. The pumpkin brownies themselves turned out but my idea for a dairy-free pumpkin frosting did not come to fruition. Unfortunately when you mix together coconut cream and canned pumpkin, it looks like a mushy mess. As much as it tasted alright, I just couldn’t move forward with the looks.
BUT I started singing Aaliyah “Try Again” (If at first you don’t succeed… dust yourself off and try again.) and now these pumpkin brownies have a simple pumpkin spice frosting instead and they’re still dabomb(dot)com.
Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies
Oh but let’s backtrack and chat about the pumpkin brownies.
They’re sweetened with Medjool dates, guys! No other sugar is used in the brownies, either. Just good ole MEDJOOL DATES. You may know I’ve been working with Natural Delights this year and have loved sharing all of the Medjool date love with you. Personally, they’re my favorite kind of date. They’re big, soft, chewy and make the best kind of energy boost.
Using the Medjool dates as the sweetener also boost the nutritional profile in these pumpkin brownies – potassium and fiber, for the win.
In this recipe the Medjool dates are processed down into a paste first (in a food processor or blender) before adding the rest of the ingredients. So everything is made in one bowl/container – super simple.
Then all thats left is baking and cooling. The cooling part is essential, especially if you are frosting the brownies. Please say you’re frosting them…
Cooling these thick and fudgy pumpkin brownies will make sure the bars hold together after being frosted and cut into.
NOTES about the coconut cream frosting!
You’ll want to use one can of chilled coconut cream, or two cans of full-fat chilled coconut milk that have been in the fridge for about six hours.
I highly recommend reading Oh Lady Cakes post on How to Make Coconut Whipped Cream. She goes over how to find a good can of coconut cream or coconut milk that isn’t going to fail you. She recommends Savoy, but I’ve had success with Thai Kitchen (which she also notes is another good one).
They’re the perfect dessert to bring around for the holidays. They can be made the night before, too. Just make sure you keep them chilled up until serving, as the coconut cream frosting will get a little melty if sitting out at room temperature for too long.
I actually brought these to a little siblings weekend we had and my brothers and sisters had no idea there were dates in them. Or that they’re actually a fairly healthy treat!
Let me know if you try them!
- 1 1/4 cup packed Medjool dates*, about 15 large (280g)
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (puree)
- 1/4 cup cashew butter
- 1/4 cup oil oil (avocado, macadamia, melted and cooled coconut oil)
- 1 large egg or 1 TBS flaxseed meal + 3 TBS water*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup coconut flour (80g)
- 1/4 tsp salt
for the frosting:
- 1 14oz canned coconut cream*** or 2 14oz cans full-fat coconut milk (see notes!)
- 3 TBS of powdered sugar or date paste****
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 8×8 square pan with parchment paper or grease well; set aside.
- In bowl of food processor (or heavy duty blender), process pitted dates with water until paste forms, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. You can remove 3 TBS here to sweeten the frosting, or use maple syrup or honey for the frosting.
- Add in pumpkin puree, cashew butter, oil, eggs or flaxseed mixture and vanilla; process until smooth.
- Scrap down sides of bowl with spatula. Add in cocoa powder, coconut flour and salt; process until smooth.
- Remove S-blade and use spatula to transfer batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Brownies may look soft but they are meant to be fudgy.
- Allow pan to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes before transferring to fridge to chill for 1 hour. Brownies can also be made a day ahead before frosting.
- Make the frosting: open can of coconut cream and *carefully* scoop out the cream (the thick white stuff) without mixing into the liquid, and place the cream into mixing bowl. You can save water for smoothies if you’d like. With electric mixer, whip coconut cream on high until light and fluffy, then add sweetener and pumpkin spice until combined.
- Spread frosting onto chilled brownies and store in fridge until ready to serve. Cut brownies into 16 squares. Enjoy!
*If dates are dry, allow dates to soak in warm water for 5 minutes.
**For flaxseed “egg” simply combine 1 TBS flaxseed meal with 3 TBS water and allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes until gel-like consistency.
***Whether you’re familiar with coconut cream frosting or not, I highly recommend checking out Oh Lady Cakes, “How to Make Whipped Coconut Cream”. She goes over a ton of details as to why you could be having trouble with your coconut milk/cream can.
****You can also use a liquid sweetener like honey, agave or maple syrup but note the consistency of the frosting may change. You could also sub coconut sugar if not worried about color change. The date paste will show up in the frosting if going that route.
SOME OF THE PRODUCTS I USED IN TODAY’S RECIPE
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