I’m a busy mom of two under two and a lot of times it’s a challenge fitting in a proper meal. My husband was out of town recently, and the only time I ate a full meal was when the kids were both napping, which I think happened, like once. During busy times, I sometimes grab an energy bar to tide me over to the next meal. The downfall of these convenience snacks is their price and (sometimes) their artificial ingredients. I decided it was time to try a homemade version, so I chose to make pumpkin spice granola bars.
I’d never made homemade granola bars before. I searched through a lot of recipes and decided on one that had no oil or added fat and the ingredients were all natural. As an added bonus, they are also gluten-free.
I changed up a few things from the original recipe, like taking out the applesauce and upping the pumpkin puree amount. The original recipe also called for chocolate chips, but I swapped in pepitas (roasted, unsalted) and dried cranberries for healthier bars and to compliment the pumpkin and spices.
These pumpkin spice granola granola bars are softer than a traditional granola bar. They are the perfect blend of spicy and sweet, with subtle pumpkin flavor and I really like the crunch of the pepitas.
Unlike store-bought granola bars, these taste natural and even healthy. They aren’t as chewy as store-bought granola bars, but I think that has something to do with taking out the fat and artificial ingredients. These are all-natural, gluten-free and low-fat.
The great thing about these pumpkin spice granola bars is that they are super easy to make, really filling, easily transportable, and keep well for several days in an airtight container. I grabbed one as I headed out the door for work one morning and had one for a pre-workout snack another day.
Do you have a homemade granola bar recipe you love? Please share it with me.
Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pepitas
½ cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices and salt together. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin puree, honey and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well until all oats are moist. Stir in pepitas and dried cranberries.
Press oat mixture firmly and evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown (the original recipe called for 30 minutes, but mine weren’t nearly done enough). The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are gold and set – you don’t want them under-baked. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Using a sharp knife, cut into bars (I cut mine about 1.5 inches wide, by 4 inches long—making 10 bars). Remove from pan and let cool completely.