By Jacquelyn Gwin Thompson “That Little Buff Chef”

I know, we all love pumpkin anything and everything. Pumpkin Spice this, Pumpkin Pie that, it’s everywhere! Unfortunately, this also makes it super easy to indulge in every little pumpkin flavored thing and well, before long we might begin to feel a little less like Cinderella and a bit more like the pumpkin carriage she rolled in on, and as much as we all love a good sweater, no one wants to go to a ball (or a dozen holiday parties) feeling the same size as the gourde flavored goodies we gorged on!

But never fear friends, there is a fairy tale ending for us yet and it’s in the form of a super healthy, no-bake protein bar you can make at home (with your favorite protein by XTEND)! Even if you find yourself snacking on these pumpkin bars at midnight or later, unlike poor Cinderella, these are a healthy version and one that won’t leave us feeling like anything less than a princess because this recipe is low fat, moderately low carb, high protein, and tastes just like the yummy pumpkin-y part of a pumpkin pie (a.k.a. the filling). Plus, as I mentioned already it’s no bake! Just mix it up and let it chill to set, and slice!

Yes of course, I love pumpkin as much as anyone but it’s not just because it’s everywhere, and I tend to be picky still about my pumpkin pickings. I grew up (and still get to indulge in) my grandma’s homemade pumpkin pie and the real deal, old-fashioned way of making pumpkin bread (in a coffee can as a baking tin, if you know you know, and maybe a healthy spin on that classic will have to also come at a later time). Growing up on the real deal, I’m lucky enough that I don’t fall prey to store bought pies, tarts, treats, and lattes as much. But my grandma also makes hers well, the old-fashioned way with lot's of sugar, butter, canned sweetened condensed milk (and love).

My mom being a proper superhero IRL, fashioned a healthier version similar to a pumpkin bar well before protein bars were in every market and grocery store. Unlike a pie or bar though, these were chewy and sticky, crustless, baked using egg whites and, combined with my grandma’s pumpkin treats, helped inspire me to make this dish.

The thing is, my mom’s version, although healthy, wasn’t stable to keep very long, being that it had egg whites and it was quite sticky, and the longer you kept it the goo-ier it would get, which was great for a large family or get together, but if I’m making a treat for me and not a crowd, I have to know it’ll last longer than a day or two.

 

I also wanted this to be something anyone can whip up, very fairy godmother style, bippity boppity boop, not bippity boppity, cream the sugar and eggs, whisk in the wet, fold in the dry, fold in more. again, level it, bake it, etc… See how involved that gets?

I wanted this recipe to be not only healthy, but also quick and easy so something more like, fold it together and what have you got? BIPPITY BOPPITY PUMPKIN NO BAKE BARS.

So as I mentioned earlier this recipe is healthy, low fat, high protein, moderately low carb with a fair amount of fiber and IT REQUIRES NO ACTUAL BAKING.

So with all of this being said I feel that I have done my best to convince you as to why you need this recipe in your life.


So without further BIPPITY BOPITY A-DO
I present to you, the recipe for my XTEND No Bake Pumpkin Pie Protein Bars.

Ingredients

  • 6 1/4 cup scoops or 1.5 cups keto flour blend (you can find the brand I used “Divided Sunset Keto Friendly Flour” at Walmart or use another alternative flour of your choice, just make sure to adjust for wet/dryness and adjust your macros if need be to be accurate.)
  • 8 scoops XTEND Pro 
  • Couple drops pumpkin pie spice extract, liquid (or dry spices work too)
  • 1/2 tsp give or take of ground cinnamon
  • 2 gelatin packets
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • Pinch salt
  • Splash of vanilla (optional)
  • Stevia powdered sugar (optional) to dust with

Note: If you feel the mix needs to be sweeter you can add liquid stevia, but I don’t feel it needs it for my preference, especially if you dust the outside with powdered stevia which also helps keep them from sticking, and also gives them a coating that tastes similar to donut glaze or icing yet thinner.


Directions

  1. Mix the XTEND Pro, liquid pumpkin pie extract if using liquid, pumpkin, vanilla, and stevia together.
  2. Next fold in the gelatin powder and stir (it’ll get harder to mix after). Begin folding in the flour, cinnamon, salt, in batches, first stirring, then folding as it gets thicker. It will begin to get too thick to stir, at which point you can fold it by hand like you would a dough.
  3. Line a sheet tray (optional but suggested, with foil then parchment paper), and pour/dump the mix out onto tray.
  4. Wet your hands or utensil slightly and press the mixture out into a square, ensuring the liner/ parchment paper comes up around the edges. If your bar mixture doesn’t fill the entire tray, use the parchment and foil to create a barrier/ edge to square it off and make a barrier while it sets up. Let your bar chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. Once chilled, cut into even portions and (optional but game changer) dust with powdered “sugar” stevia. Let your bars sit separated, I usually flip mine over so the underside can dry at this time too.
  6. I get 12 bars but if you cut yours thicker or thinner, then make sure to divide your macros appropriately to ensure accurate tracking.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Bar Macros

For 1 batch of this recipe as is, cut into 12 portions, you’ll end up with a bar consisting of:

  • 157 calories
  • 8.4g Carbs,  20.3g Protein, 5.6g Fat, 4.5g fiber, 1.6g sugar.

You can fold in or press into the top of your bars additional components if you like such as coconut shavings, white chocolate chips, pecans, or pieces of dried fruits like cranberries or dates.

These bars can be stored in the fridge and will become firmer the longer you keep them, depending on how tightly they are packaged.

You can either keep them on one tray together, wrapping them with the foil and parchment, or you can individually wrap them in parchment paper, ready to grab on the way out the door, either option works! I tend to store them all together, wrapping them as need be. If I’m sending one with my prince charming, I mean fiancé’ for work, I love to wrap them to look like a cute little letter and tuck it in with the rest of his lunch. The great part is they stay soft and moist but don’t get too sticky, having tested this myself taking several with me for a long weekend of flights and traveling.



Enjoy them straight up as is or treat yourself and top them with a little bit of whip topping, crushed pecans, or sugar free maple syrup! Try them chilled or warmed, or if you’re super adventurous chunk them up and put them in your favorite shake or in a bowl of oats.

How to Save on XTEND Pro

Lastly, remember to use my code BUFFCHEF to get your XTEND Pro to make these and of course let me know what you think! Tag me on Instagram at @thatlittlebuffchef if you try this one out, tell me your favorite way to get your pumpkin fix in this season, and of course enjoy your XTEND Pumpkin Protein Bars!


"Jacquelyn began lifting in H.S. as a nerd, tired of being picked on. After not knowing "what she wanted to be when she grew up", she went on to Culinary School only later to find she had a passion for fitness and health. After 10+ years, she returned as a bikini competitor. She is currently pursuing a Master's in Clinical Nutrition focusing on helping female athletes and competitors navigate all things behavioral, health, hormones, and fitness. She feels our relationship with food is one of the most important but also refuses to put food on a pedestal. She loves food but is also anti diet-camp as a “Dietary Agnostic” viewing every meal as a chance to change your life one decision at a time. Jacquelyn hopes to help others ditch the diet fatigue and replace it with empowerment and know-how, all while having fun, pursuing her goal of being an IFBB Bikini Pro, Nutritionist, and of course, carry on as "That Little Buff Chef".