Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pumpkin-Cranberry-Pecan Granola Bars

These granola bars actually started over a year ago.  Really, they did.  With a little seed, to be exact.  Last year we grew our first sugar-pie pumpkins.  They were so delicious!  It was awesome to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner from our own little pumpkins.  Most of the pumpkin puree got used up in making pies and muffins and cookies, but one jar was tucked away in the freezer for a day such as this.  I was digging around in there and saw the frosty dark-orange jar and decided some pumpkin-y, spicy, chewy goodness was in order.  Aha! Granola bars.  I really like making homemade granola bars.  They are very simple to make and so much healthier than store-bought.  They are also incredibly versatile.   I’ve made all sorts of combos like Chocolate-Cranberry, Apricot-Almond-Coconut, and Apple Cinnamon.  But today was all about the pumpkin.

Pumpkin-Cranberry-Pecan Granola Bars

What You Need:

3 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves (I use 1 tsp. because I’m a clove freak)
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1 beaten egg
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (homegrown is best!)

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
Spoon into a well-buttered 9x13 baking dish.
Press evenly and firmly with buttered hands (because this stuff is sticky!)
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until all golden brown and puffy.

Now the hard part- Wait! You must wait until they are cool to cut them. Otherwise they will crumble to pieces.  I learned that by experience, lol.  Of course the crumbs taste just as fabulous.  So now that you’ve resisted the urge to mess with them, you can cut them up into bars or squares or whatever shape you like, and store them in the pantry in an airtight container.  I can’t tell you how long they will keep because homemade granola bars are gone pretty fast around here!

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