Pumpkin Raisin Cookie Bars

Oh friends -- it's been a beautiful two days in South Carolina. It's been about 60° and sunny in the mornings. It finally feels a bit like fall! I've been waiting for this kind of weather! You can go outside without sweating your face off and enjoy the sun :-)

With that said, these Pumpkin Raisin Cookie Bars are a small taste of autumn. If you don't like raisins, you can easily swap them out for cranberries (or nothing!).

This recipe is a variation on my grandmother's Poor Man's Cookie Bars. I'm happy to report that because of the added pumpkin, this recipe has 1/4 cup less shortening than its predecessor! That's good news for everyone!

Pumpkin Raisin Cookie Bars
1/2 c. almond milk, or other non-dairy milk
1/4 c. bourbon (or whiskey)
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1/4 c. organic non-hydrogenated shortening, like Spectrum
1 T. flax seed, ground
3 T. water
3/4 c. coconut sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2-3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 c. organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. chopped nuts, either walnuts or pecans
1 c. raisins (or dried cranberries)

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line a cookie sheet or bar pan with parchment paper.

In a small glass, combine the flax seed and 3 tablespoons of water and stir.  Let that sit for 5 minutes. In the mean time, combine these ingredients in a bowl: baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, raisins, salt, flour, and nuts.

In a large bowl, cream the pumpkin, shortening, and coconut sugar. Add in the milk, bourbon, and flax (when ready) and stir. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients  in as well. You should have a nice thick batter -- not as firm as cookie dough.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan.  I wanted a consistent thickness, so I didn't spread mine out the whole way across; I used about 3/4 of my pan.

Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes.  Insert a toothpick when they're done and make sure that it comes out clean.  They should be baked, but be a little springy to the touch.

Allow the bars to cool completely.

If you want to ice the bars, mix powdered sugar with a little bit of water until the consistency resembles thick Elmer's Glue. Drizzle the icing over the bars.

Enjoy these beautiful bars this fall season -- I hope you love them!