North Carolina: Sweet Potato Pecan Cookie Bars

North Carolina’s cookie bar has a hearty oat crust, pureed sweet potato filling, and crunchy pecan topping with the earthy sweetness of coconut sugar.

Recipe source: https://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes/how-to-make/sweet-potato-pecan-pie-bars-gluten-free-north-carolina/

I’m upset, because I took more photos than this, and they disappeared. I think my toddler accidentally deleted, well, all of my previous photos and deleted some of the baking ones before they backed up to the cloud. So there’s no ingredient family photo and no shots of my son mashing the sweet potatoes for me. 😩

For once I baked the sweet potatoes instead of microwaving them. The recipe said the author used 4 sweet potatoes. I don’t know what itty-bitty sweet potatoes she had, because two were enough for me to get the 1.5 cups required.

The crust instructions said, “use a stand mixer to make the crust from the crust ingredients” with no other specifications. What is this, a Paul Hollywood technical recipe challenge?

I did a one-stage mix and since it was a press-in sort of crust, it was crumbly rather than smooth.

Return of the parchment handles!

I have learned never to use a blender unless all of the ingredients are liquid and not too thick. For claiming to be a powerful ice-crushing blender, the one I have is all ad copy and no performance. So I broke out the food processor.

Don’t let him fool you; yes he wanted to see the results, but he was up in his room hiding when I was actually running it.

This was baked in three stages: crust, filling, topping.

I used my little food processor to chop the nuts, and I should not have, because it’s wildly inconsistent and I ought to stop being lazy and just chop by hand with my chef knife from now on so I don’t end up with a mix of nut powder and slightly dinged halves.

Some of that powder is coconut sugar, mind you.

I wish the sugar had caramelized on the nuts. Maybe if it had been broiled a bit.

Overall impressions: This was a little more like a pie than what I consider a cookie bar. Unlike a pumpkin pie, the filling doesn’t really coagulate because it contains no egg; it remains soft and whipped in texture but doesn’t ooze or run when cut. The whole thing is mildly sweet, and the impression I get is hearty, even healthy. The crust has oats, sweet potato filling, lots of nuts (seriously, unless you like nuts, give it a pass). There coconut sugar gives it a dark, earthy flavor. I was expecting pumpkin pie crossed with pecan pie and it didn’t resemble either. But it is satisfying in itself. It wouldn’t make a bad breakfast or a brunch cookie.

Next time: Rhubarb Linzer cookies for North Dakota. I love rhubarb and Linzer cookies, and I was relieved to see frozen rhubarb at the grocery store as I’ve used up my homegrown (by my Oma) supply. But it turns out I just need to buy rhubarb jam instead, so even easier and more available.

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