The summer after my sister and I graduated from college, we found ourselves with a half-used bag of brown rice flour. Not wanting the flour to go to waste, or miss out on an opportunity to bake, we searched for a new recipe. We decided upon pumpkin granola bars, which I quickly fell in love with, or rather, with the concept of. I loved making my own granola bars. I could control the ingredients, they were always in the freezer for a mid-morning snack or quick breakfast at work and it gave me an excuse to bake every couple of weeks. I’m also in love with anything pumpkin, so pumpkin granola bars should have been perfect for me, but they weren’t. The recipe was loaded with sugar and oil and not much else. The bars were dry, but when I tried to add more moisture, they got gooey. My sister and I both tried to tweak the recipe, but after a few years and more changes than I can count, I still wasn’t satisfied.
One day, I had the brilliant idea to check Pinterest (duh!). At first, I just wanted to find similar recipes so I could continue to try to fix the one I was using. But then, I stumbled upon this particular recipe. It seemed too good to be true. Ground flaxseed. Almond milk. Chocolate chips! Pumpkin!!
And guess what?!? It was exactly what I was looking for! This recipe is moist where my old recipe was gooey. The bars are low in fat and have minimal sugar, thanks to the addition of molasses, chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Plus, the smells coming from the oven…mmm pumpkin spices.
These granola bars have become my new “go-to.” They are quick to make, freeze really well and are something I can feel good about eating at work, after the gym or whenever I need a quick snack.
Pumpkin Granola Bars
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk of choice)
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, 3 tablespoons water)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick oats)
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries, chopped
- To make flax "egg": In a small bowl, mix together ground flaxseed and warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes, until it forms a gel.
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Lightly spray 8 x 8 square baking pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, or large bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, molasses, flax egg and vanilla.
- Add flour mixture and mix on low until just combined.
- Keeping the mixer on low speed, add oatmeal, chocolate chips and dried fruit. Mix until evenly combined. Be careful not to over mix. You may have to stop the mixer and stir by hand to ensure the batter is evenly dispersed.
- Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Edges will be slightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars.
1. To make these bars gluten free, you can substitute the whole wheat flour with an alternative flour of your choice with no consequences. Make sure to use gluten free oats as well.
2. Instead of making a flax egg with flaxseed and water, you can substitute a regular egg. I just never want to miss out on the health benefits of flax!
3. These bars freeze wonderfully. I wrap mine individually, stack and freeze them in a zip bag so I can grab one out of the freezer whenever I need it.
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Serving Size: 1 bar Calories: 134kcal Carbohydrate: 25g Fat: 3g Protein: 3g