Pumpkin Butter Pecan Chocolate Chip Bars (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free)

gluten free, dairy free, grain free, refined sugar free, pumpkin, chocolate, bars

This post is linked to Our Spunky Holiday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays (Squash Challenge), and Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free!

It took three tries to get this recipe right. I wanted a new entry for my ongoing Pumpkin Pie Plus … series. What I had in mind was pumpkin with chocolate in bar or brownie form, namely Pumpkin Butter Chocolate Brownies. But adding even a small amount of cocoa overpowered the pumpkin the first two times I tried and made for almost a bitter baked good. Solution? Make the bar more like a chocolate chip cookie so that the chocolate complements the pumpkin and other ingredients versus overwhelms them. The result? Pumpkin Butter Pecan Chocolate Chip Bars.

Badge for Pumpkin SeriesI started out with the idea to use Kelly’s amazing Flourless Brownies using my pumpkin butter instead of the required nut and/or sun butter. But I ended up using a bar variation of my Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies as the basis for my recipe. Oh, and while I really wanted to use pumpkin buttertotally in lieu of eggs, my mixtures were coming out far too wet and I just couldn’t make an egg-free, vegan version happen in the allotted time.

This last version—the successful one shown—came together when Mr. GFE and I arrived home from camping and I had 45 minutes to “create” before we were due at a cousins’ crab feast. Under pressure, I went with what suddenly made sense and it worked. Everyone loved these bars and one cousin proclaimed “without a doubt, your best recipe ever!” I gratefully accepted that compliment. These bars have a great undertone of pumpkin with just enough spice, a lovely texture provided by the almond flour and chopped pecans, just the right amount of mouth feel from the coconut oil, and finally everything that those always beloved chocolate chips add to any recipe. So these bars are definitely winners! Despite photos taken “on the run,” I hope you can still see how beautiful and scrumptious these bars are.

They are also the perfect entries for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! event with the theme of Spiced Desserts (hosted by Noosh of For the Love of  Food), Linda’s Gluten-Free Wednesdays (monthly challenge: Create a Recipe Using Squash), and Kelly’s Our Spunky Holiday. As these are gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and refined sugar free (when made without chocolate chips), these even would have been terrific for the Paleo Parents’ Healthy Halloween Recipe Roundup, but I missed the deadline. Boo, indeed! But that’s no reason for you to miss out on the fun … you can see their great roundup here before you check out my recipe below.

gluten free, dairy free, grain free, refined sugar free, pumpkin, chocolate, bars

Pumpkin Butter Pecan Chocolate Chip Bars

(Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free)

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)


2/3 cup coconut (or palm) sugar (or more, to taste; see notes)
½ cup coconut oil, liquefied (or more; see notes)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup pumpkin butter (made with pumpkin puree, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, sea salt, and honey; see recipe here)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups almond flour (I use Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour)
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp sea salt
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
2/3 cup chocolate chips (see notes for dairy free, grain free, and refined sugar free)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add coconut sugar to large bowl. Stir in coconut oil.

Stir in eggs, pumpkin butter, and vanilla extract. Mix well.

Add almond flour, baking soda, salt, pecans, and chocolate chips, mixing until you have an even batter.

Using spatula, spread mixture into lightly greased 9 x 13 baking pan.

Bake for about 20 minutes or so. Check for doneness using a toothpick.

Cool in pan at least 15 minutes before cutting.

gluten free, dairy free, grain free, refined sugar free, pumpkin, chocolate, bars

Shirley’s Notes:  Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips are dairy free. Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips and Mega Chunks are dairy free and made with evaporated cane juice. The latter are also grain free. If you like wet and moist bars, you may want to use more coconut oil. Add one tablespoon of coconut oil more at a time until you get a really spreadable batter. Omit chocolate chips for a completely sugar free option. I lowered the sugar a tad for this recipe; if you like sweet, you may wish to increase the amount, but with the already sweetened pumpkin butter, the chocolate chips, and the natural sweetness of coconut sugar and pecans, we found this amount to be about right.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


61 Responses to “Pumpkin Butter Pecan Chocolate Chip Bars (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free)”

  1. Stacy on October 17th, 2011 7:09 pm

    For you I’ll edit the post, no problem! Good food is worth the time it takes! REALLY wanna try these!

    • Shirley on October 17th, 2011 9:27 pm

      Stacy–Again, you are a dear to include my recipe after the fact! My fingers will be crossed that you enjoy these when you get to make them. ;-)


  2. Kalyn on October 17th, 2011 7:15 pm

    Yaay, a photo in the feed! And this looks delicious.

    • Shirley on October 17th, 2011 9:39 pm

      Hi Kalyn–Thanks so much! I must admit it’s pretty cool to see the photos there now. Unfortunately, I think that addition might have broken my print capability. The two don’t seem related, but they hapended at the exact same time. ;-) Must wait for my web person to get back into town and do her magic.

      After taking the remaining bars in to work today, I’ve still got three left for my cross-country flight tomorrow. :-) (We only have four folks at work and one doesn’t eat almonds.)


  3. Amber on October 17th, 2011 8:33 pm

    These look so delightful Shirley!!! Are they as moist as they look?? Your ingredients are great. One thing…your “see recipe here” (for pumpkin butter) link doesn’t look active?

    I made my fist submission to Our Spunky Holiday on Saturday…so exciting!! http://www.thetastyalternative.com/

    Be Well,

    • Shirley on October 17th, 2011 10:28 pm

      Hi Amber–Thanks! Yes, they are quite moist, BUT in the recipe here I backed down on the coconut oil some as the bars did leave a bit of a grease impression on the napkin. If you make these and the batter looks dry, add a bit more coconut oil … maybe a tablespoon to begin with. I think there will be some variations per individual recipes based on how dense/wet one’s pumpkin butter is, too.

      Thanks for the heads up on the missing link! I should make a rule never to have multiple links in my posts. I included the link in the first reference, but totally missed the second one as in my mind, I had already linked the recipe.

      You submission to Our Spunky Holiday is very impressive! Those fig pops look very intriguing. ;-)


  4. AndreAnna on October 17th, 2011 11:05 pm

    OMG, these look so awesome!! I can’t wait to try them!

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 1:10 am

      Hi AndreAnna–Thanks, dear! Hope you enjoy them. :-)


  5. Amber on October 17th, 2011 11:21 pm

    Hi Shirley~

    I make my own “candy” each year for my kids around the most popular candy holidays. I just couldn’t decide which ones to add this year, so I went with lucky #3. I’m totally addicted to Karina’s rice crispy treats (I’ve made them about 10 times) and I thought chocolate would be a winning combination. It was!

    You have a good night Shirley!

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 1:34 am

      Amber–You are awesome! Those rice crispy treats looked so good, too. Chocolate is always a winning combination. ;-)


  6. Kristina @ spabettie on October 18th, 2011 12:56 pm

    oh, wow, Shirley, I can almost taste these… they look and sound SO good!

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 1:35 am

      Hey Kristina–Thanks, dear! I enjoyed the last three on my travels today. ;-)


  7. Desi@ThePalatePeacemaker on October 18th, 2011 1:19 pm

    Whoa. Shirley. Just… Whoa. This is a combination of all my favorite things. In one recipe. I salute you…. wait, no, I BOW BEFORE YOU. :) Thank you for this! I’m off to make an egg-free version! xo

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 1:38 am

      Hi Desi–Always love your comments! :-) Can’t wait to hear if the egg-free version works. I did update the recipe with a note about using a tad more coconut oil if you like super moist. ;-)


  8. Felicia on October 18th, 2011 1:25 pm

    Hi Shirley,

    These look divine and I have a couple of jars left from last years’ batch of pumpkin butter – I will be baking tomorrow! Thank you for such a great post! Enjoy the wonderful fall weather~

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 11:38 am

      Hi Felicia–Sounds like you are primed to make these bars then! :-) FYI–I did add a note to the recipe stating that those who like really moist bars might want to add a little more coconut oil.

      Hope you are having a lovely fall, too! I’m actually far from home today, but still enjoying some lovely fall temps. :-)


  9. Alisa Fleming on October 18th, 2011 1:41 pm

    Oh wow, recipe event madness! Either way, these bars look amazing Shirley! They’re reminding me that I really should make some pumpkin butter this year.

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 11:46 am

      Alisa–LOL, yes, I know … quadruple bonus points! ;-) You should make some pumpkin butter for sure. The stuff is amazing IMHO. And it’s perfect in these bars. :-)

      Excited to be seeing you soon! xo,

  10. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat on October 18th, 2011 2:57 pm

    I’ve never made pumpkin butter before, so I think I just found my challenge for Adopt a GF Blogger! Pumpkin Butter AND these amazing Pumpkin Bars! I’m so excited to have the opportunity to adopt you!

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 11:53 am

      Hey Heather–OMG, you are adopting me??!! I am so excited and worried … I always worry when people adopt me. ;-) But I think you will love both of these. As I’ve been replying to everyone, if you like moist, see the note I added to the recipe about possibly adding more coconut oil.

      Thank you for adopting me, dear! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you will love everything you make. :-)


  11. InTolerant Chef on October 18th, 2011 4:51 pm

    These really do catch my fancy. I really will make these soon. What a shame it’s spring and I have to buy a pumpkin when I have so many just starting to grow in the garden. I kid you not, I pulled up over 100 self seeded ‘rouge’ pumpkin seedlings already this week!

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 12:21 pm

      Hi InTolerant Chef–Wow, 100 rogue pumpkin seedlings! Yes, those seasonal differences can throw a ringer into making recipes from here. Pumpkin butter is delightful though, either made with canned or fresh. :-) And I think you’ll love this recipe when you get to make it … fingers crossed. ;-)


  12. Maggie on October 18th, 2011 6:14 pm

    Shirley you’ve done it AGAIN! These look like they’re right up my alley! I wish you were on your way to a party at my house :) With Mr. GFE too! I might have to try an egg-free version. xo

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 12:26 pm

      Hi Maggie–You’re such a dear–thank you! Oh, I’d love to be on the way to your house for a party! Mr. GFE would enjoy it, too. :-) One day we’ll make it to your neck of the woods for sure.

      Will look forward to an egg-free version from you in the near future, dear! ;-)


  13. Meg on October 18th, 2011 7:08 pm

    Wow! Chocolate and Pumpkin. I would have never thought to mix the two. I can’t wait to try to make them. Mmm mmm mmm!

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 12:35 pm

      Hi Meg–It looks like you are new here—welcome! :-) While I had read about folks combining chocolate and pumpkin and I’ve made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that we love, in my first two attemtps to make bars using cocoa, the chocolate overpowered the pumpkin. But in this recipe, the chocolate chips are just the right amount to complement the pumpkin. So chocolate chips are the answer to combining chocolate and pumpkin. Hope you love it!

      I’m happy to find your blog, The Gut Gazette, too. Loved that pumpkin pie that your grandmother made for you. Sounded scrumptious and it was so cute! ;-)


  14. Linda on October 18th, 2011 10:47 pm

    Shirley, these bars look great, and I love that you used almond flour and made them grain free.

    Did you know that you don’t have links for the three events you are submitting this to? I only say that because I have not kept up this month and don’t even know who is hosting Go Ahead Honey, so I wanted to click on it, but there is no link.

    Again, those bars look terrific!

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 12:48 pm

      Hey Linda–Yes, I knew. I just wanted to get the post up and go back and find the links later. Most of them are just the announcements posts and I wasn’t entirely sure about Go Ahead Honey this month either. I just knew the theme from reading elsewhere. Plus, I was “on the run” getting ready to fly cross country for a girlfreind get together. All the links should be updated now (at least to what’s available). :-) Noosh of For the Love of Food! is hosting. Read more here.

      Thanks so much re: the bars! :-)


  15. Melanie on October 18th, 2011 11:06 pm

    These look fantastic, can’t wait to try them!

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 12:50 pm

      Hi Melanie–Thank you, dear! :-) Note that I did go back and make a few extra notes in the recipe to ensure success for all, so take a look before you bake.


  16. Nicole @ Special Diet Creations on October 19th, 2011 12:35 am

    These look absolutely incredible, Shirley! I haven’t tasted them, but I’m willing to bet they were worth all of the trial and error to come up with such an amazing end result. I love that they are grain-free and sweetened with coconut sugar, too. Yum!

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 12:51 pm

      Hi Nicole–It really wasn’t too tough a job. LOL All the versions were still pretty good … just not what I had in mind. These are my favorite dessert/snack bar at the moment. :-)


  17. joan harrington on October 19th, 2011 9:39 am

    These look awesome! Unfortunately I will not be able to make the pumpkin butter for the recipe at this time. Do you think I could add sugar and spices to canned pumpkin to make it work?

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 1:01 pm

      Hi Joan–Thank you! I expected someone to ask the question on pumpkin puree vs pumpkin butter. I am *guessing* that if you use pumpkin puree, additional spices, and additional sugar, that this recipe will work but become more cake like because you won’t have the pumpkin butter density. But give it a try and let us know!


  18. Ina Gawne on October 19th, 2011 10:01 am

    These look wonderful! Anything with pumpkin and spice has me hooked..I must go back and check out that pumpkin butter recipe!

    • Shirley on October 19th, 2011 1:01 pm

      Thanks, Ina! I think you will love both recipes. :-)


  19. Ricki on October 19th, 2011 10:40 pm

    Two of the worlds most delicious foods–together! As they should be, ha ha! I absolutely adore the combination of pumpkin and chocolate. And this paleo version sounds just great. I’m glad you persisted and came up with the perfect bar!

    • Shirley on October 20th, 2011 12:42 pm

      Hi Ricki–Thank you, dear! Love your enthusiasm about two of my favorite foods! :-)


  20. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on October 21st, 2011 11:06 am

    Oh my, Shirley! This combination could not be any more perfect! I wish you could be delivering me some on a plate right now!! I am thinking that these need to be made TODAY! ;) The third try was definitely the trick for these!

    • Shirley on October 21st, 2011 8:20 pm

      Thank you, Kim! Will make some version for you very soon. ;-)


  21. Alta on October 21st, 2011 12:06 pm

    Oh Shirley, you are singing my song. I would love these. Must make.

    • Shirley on October 21st, 2011 8:46 pm

      Hi Alta–I think you’d love these bars. Please let me know if you make them. :-)


  22. Shannon on October 25th, 2011 1:01 am

    You better believe I’ll be making these! I was just thinking earlier today “I wonder what chocolate and pumpkin would be like together…” This looks like a great way to find out! ;)

    • Shirley on October 25th, 2011 6:54 pm

      Hi Shannon–I didn’t have any luck with my pumpkin butter and cocoa combinations, but when I combined the pumpkin butter with chocolate chips (and the other ingredients, of course), I struck gold. ;-) Hope you like this one! :-)


  23. Deanna on October 25th, 2011 11:21 am

    Oh man. Those look so freakin’ good. Mmmm…… The kiddo loves pumpkin, and has been asking me to bake something new. Hm…may have a project for this afternoon.

    I bet they would work with apple butter, too.

    • Shirley on October 25th, 2011 6:57 pm

      Thanks, Deanna! I consider “freakin’ good” a high compliment. ;-) I hope you and the kiddo enjoy these if you get to make them. And I believe this recipe would indeed be great with apple butter vs pumpkin butter. In fact, the gals and I couldn’t find pumpkin butter at the natural food store this weekend, so we picked up some apple butter to try that alternative. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to make all the goodies that we wanted!


  24. Gabby the Gluten Free Guru on October 25th, 2011 10:59 pm

    These look delicious!! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Shirley on October 26th, 2011 10:51 pm

      Hi Gabby–Thanks so much! I hope you enjoy these bars. :-)


  25. Sea on October 27th, 2011 12:39 pm

    Those look scrumptious! I have to try them. I love this time of year just so I can eat pumpkin EVERYTHING!


    • Shirley on November 3rd, 2011 6:26 am

      Hi Sea–Thanks! They are scrumptious. :-) If I had some pumpkin butter made, I’d make these today so I could have some for my flight to Dallas. ;-) And I never turn down gf pumpkin goodness, but pumpkin is more available this time of year.


  26. Naomi on November 2nd, 2011 12:51 pm

    Shirley, those look absolutely delicious! Like a pumpkin brownie. Love all the healthy ingredients you used too – who says Halloween can’t be healthy?

    x x x

    • Shirley on November 3rd, 2011 6:27 am

      Hi Naomi–So good to see you here. :-) A pumpkin brownie is exactly what I was going for! It just took a few tries to get it right. ;-)


  27. Julie Romeis on July 29th, 2013 5:32 pm

    My kids and I made these together. They were skeptical, but WOW! I can’t believe how wonderful the texture is! We miss our old Pumpkin Muffins from back in our gluten days (I even entered them in the state fair one year) and have been looking for something to give us that satisfaction in a grain free way. This goes above and beyond everything else we’ve tried so far. Thanks!!!

    • Shirley on July 29th, 2013 7:09 pm

      Hi Julie–Welcome to gfe! :-) I’m absolutely thrilled that you and your family loved this recipe so much! :-) Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful comment. I hope you find many more super pleasing grain-free recipes on gfe. ;-) Off to share your comment on Facebook so that others will be reminded of this recipe. Readers tend to forgot about pumpkin during the summer, but I love it year round. Oh, and I’ve also made subbed cooked, mashed sweet potato for the pumpkin in this recipe and it’s just as yummy!


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