When you get a recipe idea like these tahini pumpkin bars, you share it. It's that simple.
These are not your standard pumpkin bars. As should be obvious from the title, these are tahini pumpkin bars. They strongly feature that unique tahini flavor, but it marries excellently with pumpkin, making these bars a total winner.
How do you describe tahini? Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds (think sunflower seed butter, but with sesame seeds). Like many nut butters, it's quite rich. As far as the flavor...I'll be honest, I googled a way to describe it. The best result that gave me is "strong sesame flavor". Oooookay. As long as you know exactly what sesame tastes like, that's a great descriptor. Unlike most nut butters, tahini doesn't have a hint of sweet and is instead quite bitter. Many people dislike tahini when they first try it because they're expecting something akin to almond butter.
But if you're willing to experiment, tahini can be an excellent pantry addition. I've already used it to make halvah cookies (which are amazing and you should definitely make them!). You can also make an exotic salad dressing with tahini and citrus. Or, obviously, modded phat fudge. Basically, there are a lot of delicious ways to use tahini!
With very little sweetener involved, these pumpkin bars aren't that sweet. That might be the reason that my immediate thought after tasting them was "I need ice cream with this." And then...heavenly pictures of tahini pumpkin bars á la mode were born.
You certainly don't need to serve these bars with ice cream (I used Coconut Bliss ice cream, which is dairy-free and has pretty clean ingredients), but serving these warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream definitely put me over the moon. I mean, it's the kind of after-dinner treat where you take a bite, smile, and cinematically utter "mmMMM".
Without ice cream, these tahini pumpkin bars taste just fine straight from the fridge — that's my preferred method instead of warming them plain. But if you have ice cream, do what the pictures tell you. You won't regret it!
Oh — and if you don't want to spend an exorbitant amount of money on a jar of tahini, you can always make your own. Toast some raw (hulled) sesame seeds over low heat in a large skillet, then blend them in a high-powered blender or food processor. Add a little EVOO or sesame oil if necessary to thin it out. Easy! Someday, I'll make that a separate recipe and post it. Today is not that day.Print
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients (tahini through vanilla). In a separate small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix. Stir in the chocolate chips until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before digging in. For bonus points, serve warm with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream!