Pepita Bars

Pepita Bars - delicious nut-free cookies with plenty of crunch and caramel flavor.

Years ago I borrowed my mom’s recipe box and transcribed all the recipes from her collection into a small family cookbook. I made photocopies and bound the pages to give as Christmas gifts one year. Inside were all our family’s favorites that I remembered having as a child as well as any recipes that sounded interesting that I had never had.

Walnut Bars was one of those recipes. My sister told me about these bars for years and how they were a Pellowski keepsake, handed down from our great-grandmother, Josephine. That was news to me. Janel made them once for a school project and has since baked them to give as gifts at Christmas time.

Since walnuts are considered to be poison in my kitchen, I knew I couldn’t make them with walnuts. Instead, I used pepitas, pumpkin seeds that I buy from Trader Joe’s. I use pepitas and sunflower seeds often as a nut-free alternative. My girl isn’t allergic to almonds, but the only place I’ve found almonds that are not cross-contaminated with peanuts or walnuts is at Trader Joe’s, and we were out of those. So, pepitas it was.

(All that to say, you can use whatever nut or seed you want to use in these bars. A combination would be pretty fantastic, I think.)

Pepita Bars - delicious nut-free cookies with plenty of crunch and caramel flavor.

Bake these bars in a 9×13-inch pan lined with parchment. This makes it so much easier to remove the bars from the pan and cut pretty, sharp-edged squares. The mixture bakes up high and puffy and sinks as it cools, leaving a few ridges and ripples. Let them cool completely before slicing.

Pepita Bars - delicious nut-free cookies with plenty of crunch and caramel flavor.

For best results, trim off the ugly edges. You get to eat those yourself!

My sister likes to wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap. I stored them layered in parchment paper in an airtight container. Gobble them down within a week or freeze them for longer storage.

Pepita Bars - delicious nut-free cookies with plenty of crunch and caramel flavor.

Got a favorite heirloom cookie in YOUR family?

Would you rather subscribe by RSS?
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. I just recently found your blog and was excited to try these Pepita bars as one of my sons also has a walnut and peanut allergy. I was going to buy a bag of pepitas at Trader Joe’s today and noticed they are now labeled as cross-contaminated with peanuts! So bummed about this as I looked at an almost empty bag I have in the freezer and it does not have this warning. Any thoughts on where else to buy them? So hard to find things without cross-contamination labels these days.

    • The cross-contamination thing is a bane of my existence. The pepitas I had were safe, but now you have me wondering if they changed their supplier. Such a bummer! I’m not sure, but I will let you know if I hear of another source. Ugh. Thanks for the tip.

Share Your Thoughts

*