November 1st. That dreaded day after Halloween when everyone is either groggy and grumpy from lack of sleep the night before or completely wired from eating an obscene amount of candy. Having two parents as teachers, November 1st is a somewhat dirty word in our house. Or, uh, two words that is. I blame my overtired, post-Halloween brain…hey, case in point!
These granola bars are a perfect pick-me-up for days like today. Full of oats, pumpkin, fall spices, maple syrup, cinnamon chips and dried cranberries, there’s nothing not to like. Not to mention that they are waaay cheaper than buying a box of granola bars that are probably full of preservatives and ingredients that I can’t pronounce, unless you want to the buy the even more expensive healthy type. Sorry, store-bought granola bars. I’ve got nothing against you, I promise, but you’ve got nothing on these homemade guys! Sorry.
Halloween may be over, but autumn is still here, so savor these last few weeks of fall flavors in the form of these granola bars! Adapt them as you wish, but I have to admit that this pumpkin/cinnamon chip/cranberry combo is prettttty darn good. Enjoy, friends! 🙂
Pumpkin Granola Bars
3 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or honey)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cinnamon chips (or chocolate chips)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or nuts, raisins, etc.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8″x8″ baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the oats until well-combined. Stir in the cinnamon chips and cranberries.
Evenly press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden-brown and firm. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Bars can be stored for several days in an airtight container at room temperature.
(Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)