When I was an athlete I didn’t really like energy bars very much.
I found them hard to eat. The flavor was terrible, the texture sucked, and they were always hard as a rock. The only kinda I managed to eat with out gagging were Cliff bars.
They had a pumpkin spice bar that I really liked. And although I don’t work out quite as hard as I used to, I still like to have convenient and healthy snacks around.
Granola bars can be a very health conscious choice, as long as you pay attention to what you are eating.
There are plenty of granola bars with 150+ calories, tons of sugar, and loaded with hydrogenated oil. They also are full of synthetic ingredients to help extend their shelf life.
Those are a bad! Don’t eat them.
Instead, make your own organic granola bars! It’s very easy and you can alter the ingredients to include your favorite fruit and nuts.
Organic Pumpkin Granola Bars
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/2 TSP pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 TSP cinnamon
- 1/4 TSP nutmeg
- 1/2 TSP salt
- 3/4 cup organic light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
- 1/4 peanut butter (or other nut butter)
- 1/4 cup organic applesauce
- 1/4 cup organic honey*
- 1 TSP vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1/3 cup dried cherries (optional)
*I didn’t have any honey on hand so I made a simple syrup to sweeten it up. But next time I’ll probably use pureed dates, agave nectar, or maple syrup.
To Make the Organic Granola Bars:
- Preheat the oven to 350º F, and spray an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan – set it aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, spices, and salt together. Set it aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey (simple syrup for me), peanut butter, and vanilla until smooth.
- Pour the wet mix over the dry mix and stir it all together until the oats are moist.
- Stir in your desired mix ins.
- Evenly press oat mixture into the pan, bake it for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Do not under bake them.
- Let them cool. Then using a sharp knife, cut them into your desired shape and size. Store wrapped in plastic wrap and in ziplock bags.
The bars are moist from the pumpkin and simple syrup, but not overly sweet. The chocolate, cherries and walnuts provide a necessary texture contrast.
Overall, the bars are delicious. They are comforting and filling, but not heavy.
You could easily alter this recipe to whatever you have on hand. I imagine you could switch the pumpkin puree for other purees, depending on the season.