You’re craving a quick, tasty and portable snack, so you reach for a granola bar. Yeah, we’ve all been there. When I was a student, they were a staple for me. I’d even buy them in bulk packages of 30 or 40.
While I’ve since learned that not all granola bars are healthy, I was surprised to read in a recent article that many of them have the same amount of calories, fat, sodium and sugar as chocolate bars! Yikes.
So when I saw this recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip granola bars, I hesitated to bake them. For awhile. Then I caved.
I won’t claim that these delectable bars are healthy, though I do believe they are far better for you than anything you’d find in a box or package. They were so irresistible I scarfed down several of them in a matter of days, but now I’ve found restraint.
They’re fragrantly spiced and moist, but they won’t fall apart on you. Despite my love of sugar, I found these too sweet – I’d cut the brown sugar to a lightly packed half cup, and reduce the chocolate chips by half as well. If you want to cut out the chocolate entirely, I’m certain chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts would be a perfect substitute.
What’s your take on the health value of granola bars?
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
From Two Peas and Their Pod
3 ¼ cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of cardamom
Pinch of cloves
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices and salt together. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in chocolate chips.
Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set – you don’t want them to be under baked. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely.