Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

I am no photographer, that's for sure!  And my food photography skills are especially lacking...
These. are. so. good!  An excellent and relatively healthy fall treat (you can leave out the chocolate chips to to make them less sugary and more healthy), we ate these for dessert last night!  ...and I ate one for breakfast...

They are basically my granola bar recipe with pumpkin and spices added in.  They turn out very moist - not really granola bar texture...but not cake, either.  I will definitely make them again - probably soon, because I have more pumpkin to use!  They might turn out well as cookies, but I think they'd need more of a leavening agent than the baking soda.

1/2 c. dried deglet dates
1/2 c. butter, softened (you can microwave it for 30 seconds to soften it plenty)
1c. honey (I originally was going to use 1/2 c. but the mixture looked too dry)
3/4 c. cooked pumpkin (I used fresh-cooked - make sure it is thick and not watery!)
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour of any sort
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP chia seeds
1 c. mini chocolate chips (optional)

-Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

-Butter a 9x13 pan (straight edges/corners work best)

-Process the dates in your food processor or blender.  Add to a large mixing bowl with the butter, honey, pumpkin, and spices.  Use a hand mixer to blend thoroughly.

-Add everything else but the chocolate chips and beat until well-combined.

-Stir in the chocolate chips.

-Transfer mixture to the pan.  With slightly wet fingers, firmly press the mixture into the pan.  It will be stickier than the usual granola bar batter.

-Bake for 15-20 minutes (my oven runs a little hot, so 15 minutes is plenty).

-Allow to cool for 10+ minutes (longer can be better) before cutting into bars.  I used a pastry cutter/scraper because it has a straight and fairly sharp edge.  A sharp knife would work, too.  I made 20 bars from the 9x13 pan.

-Once they're cut, refrigerate until the whole pan is cool.  Then remove the bars from the pan and store in layers, with a piece of wax paper between.
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