Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip & Pecan Granola Bars

Pumpkin Granola Bars

I’m still on a pumpkin kick over here, and these granola bars are such a fun and different way to use pumpkin. I have always adored granola bars – I kept boxes of them in my dorm room in college (along with cans of Spaghettios and boxes of microwave popcorn – such a healthy diet!), and once I started working full-time I kept them in a drawer at my desk. They were always perfect for grabbing a quick snack or for tiding you over if you got stuck in a meeting and missed lunch. However, I haven’t had any in a very long time because once I started paying attention to the quality of foods I was eating, I realized there was a ton of sugar and processed ingredients in them. I know what you’re going to say – “But you bake with TONS of sugar!” Touche. But at least I know exactly what goes into everything I bake; I like to stay away from overly processed foods if possible. And these homemade granola bars provide a fabulous happy medium. I get to eat my granola bars, but I get to make them from scratch, and bonus! There’s pumpkin!

Pumpkin Granola Bars

I think that this is a fabulous base recipe to use for tons of different granola bar variations. I am thinking of trying out a version that replaces the pumpkin with peanut butter and adding chocolate and peanut butter chips. You could replace the pumpkin with more applesauce or honey and add in dried cranberries, white chocolate and almonds (one of my favorite combos). The possibilities are seemingly endless, and I can’t wait to come up with more varieties of homemade granola bars.

You’ll want to make sure you don’t underbake these bars and wait until they are deep golden brown before removing them from the oven. Because the pumpkin will keep the bars moist, they need to baked fully so they don’t end up soggy.

What is your favorite variety of granola bars?

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Three years ago: Homemade Soft Pretzels

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip & Pecan Granola Bars

Ingredients:

3¼ cups traditional rolled oats

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¾ cup light brown sugar

½ cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)

¼ cup applesauce

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup cinnamon chips

½ cup chopped pecans


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.


2. In a large bowl whisk together the oats, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. In a medium bowl whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract until combined and smooth. Pour the mixture over the oats and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to mix until all of the oats are moistened. Stir in the cinnamon chips and pecans.


3. Evenly press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure not to underbake! Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars and serve. Leftover bars can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container and kept at room temperature.


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(Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)


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