Because we can now purchase Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks, it is now fall. Yes, I let Starbucks determine what season it is. No judging.
In honor of the start of fall, this week, I looked for a pumpkin recipe on Pinterest. With options ranging from pumpkin fudge to pumpkin pie French Toast, I decided to bake homemade pumpkin granola bars.
Several recipes used chocolate chips with a fruit or nuts, but I used a few different ingredients to make these seasonal granola bars.
Assembling granola bars is much easier than you would think. It's just about as easy as making Rice Krispies treats.
First, place two cups of old-fashioned oats into a large bowl. Add one teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, one teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of cocoa powder. Most of the pumpkin granola bars used pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon with other generic pie seasonings, but I thought adding dark chocolate cocoa powder would add a subtly sweet and chocolatey flavor to the oats in the bars.
Next, combine 1/2 cup of brown sugar with 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree. Make sure that there is enough pumpkin puree to dissolve the sugar crystals in the brown sugar. Add 1/4 cup of honey and one teaspoon of vanilla extract to the pumpkin mixture and stir together. If the wet ingredients are not sticking together enough, then add more honey.
Finally, pour the wet ingredients over the seasoned oats and stir until completely combined. Add one to one-and-a-half cups of white chocolate chips with the same amount of toasted whole almonds to the granola mixture.
I toasted the whole almonds in the oven before adding them to the granola bars so that their natural oils would be released and enhance the overall flavor of the bars.
You could also use pumpkin seeds if you wanted to really enhance the pumpkin flavor.
Evenly spread the granola mixture into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
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Let the granola bars cool completely if you want a more dense bar, but if you want a softer granola bar, eat them warm.
The white chocolate chips give the granola bars the perfect amount of sweetness while the pumpkin, oats and almonds offer a seasonal flavor your taste buds will definitely enjoy.