Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Granola Bars

I finally fell asleep last night after brainstorming some breakfast ideas, and I want to share one with you here.

Although we're still wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts in late October here in the Houston area, there are pumpkins seemingly everywhere.

If you don't roast fresh pumpkin, you should. It's far superior to the stuff in the can, and there's little labor required. Simply cut it in half, scoop out the inside (being sure to save the seeds for roasting separately), and place each half face-down on lightly-oiled baking sheets. Roast at 350°F until the rind begins to sink in the middle. Let it cool, scrape away the rind, and store the pumpkin in freezer bags for later use.

Anyway, as I was lying in bed unable to sleep (my to-do lists tend to rob me of slumber), I suddenly thought of a granola bar recipe that I wanted to convert.
The friend who gave me the recipe uses either honey or orange marmalade in hers, but I've always substituted with apricot preserves.

This morning, I decided to try using pumpkin pureé.

I can't say enough how thankful I am for baking stones. They truly are a kitchen wonder!

To be honest, my bars don't always maintain their shape. It may be a tell-tale sign that I haven't added enough moisture to the mix. This morning was no different. Most of the bars fell apart when I removed them from the pan. When this is the case, I simply dump them all into my big granola jar to be served later with yoghurt! 
Everybody wins.

I managed to set this relatively-intact bar aside for a quick phone photo before dumping it into the jar with the rest.

Pumpkin Granola "Bars"

4 C oats
(pulse in food processor to resemble quick oats)

3/4 C melted butter

1/2 C sucanat
(or honey granules, aka "Savannah Gold")

1/2 C pumpkin pureé 
(mixed with 1 T agave nectar, if you prefer it sweeter)

1 C chopped pecans

1/2 C flax seeds

1/2 C dried cranberries

(Feel free to use other nuts/seeds of your choice.)

Bake at 400°F for 15-18 minutes.

Cool and cut into bars... or dump into your granola jar!

(If you're a coffee drinker, check out our friend's site. This is what completed my yummy breakfast this morning.)

ETA: I posted a revised version of this recipe here with some tweaking of the details for better results, thanks to my sweet friend, Lauren. :-)

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