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healthy pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: 16 bars
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal bars are soft and chewy with satisfying pumpkin flavor. Using a food processor or blender to break down the oats (step 2) ensures the bars hold their shape. I don’t recommend any ingredient substitutions other than those listed in the recipe & recipe notes.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups (240g) old-fashioned whole oats or quick oats (not instant)*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (225g) fresh or canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup (56gunsweetened applesauce*
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (45g) coconut sugar (or packed light or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (135g) semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus a few to press into the top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the bars out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
  2. Pulse the oats in a food processor or blender until they’re slightly broken up. (For whole oats, about 10 pulses. For quick oats, about 5-6 pulses.) Pour into a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. With a rubber spatula or large spoon, stir together until combined. Mixture/dough will be very heavy and thick.
  3. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Using the back of a flat spatula or a spoon, spread and press it tightly down into the pan. Make sure it’s flat and very compact, which helps guarantee the bars hold their shape. Dot a few chocolate chips into the top– this is optional and only for looks! I usually use about 1-2 Tablespoons on top.
  4. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned and the center appears set. Avoid over-baking, which dries the bars out.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. After that, place the pan in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours until chilled.
  6. Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides then cut into squares.
  7. Cover leftover bars tightly and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Freeze squares in single layers between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Oats: If needed, use certified gluten free oats to ensure the bars are gluten free.
  3. Spices: Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground allspice, and ground ginger. (You will still want to use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in the recipe, in addition to these spices.)
  4. Applesauce: If needed, you can replace the applesauce with the same amount of mashed banana. Or you can use 1 egg or even use a flax egg substitute. Flax egg = mix 1 Tbsp ground flax with 3 Tbsp warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes while it “gels” up. Use the “flax gel” as a replacement for the applesauce/egg.
  5. Chocolate Chips: You can skip the chocolate chips or replace with white chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried cranberries. Or use a combination of any of those add-ins.
  6. Vegan: Use dairy-free chocolate chips to ensure the bars are vegan.

Keywords: pumpkin, oatmeal, granola bars