Yummy note: This last month, I decided to join up with The Secret Recipe Club, created by Amanda of Amanda's Cookin'. So what is this Secret Recipe Club? Every month, you get a assigned a fellow blogger member to "research" (I use this term loosely) haha.. more like admire and read all the wonderful blog posts. The hardest part is to pick out any one recipe from that person's blog to feature on your own blog. The fun part of the club is this is all a secret until the big reveal day. You know it’s like Valentine's Day all over learning your secret blog admirer :)
So my secret crush, I will call it :) this month was The Big Fat Baker. The Big Fat Baker, aka Erin Meyer (also on Twitter @bigfatbaker) had a nice collection of baked goodies to pick from, ranging from cupcakes to pies to cookies. I love the fact that she is a younger baker, like myself, who appreciates the organic and natural food options. Being a busy mom, I know that in today’s busy, on the go, society, it is often very hard to take the time and go with the healthier route. When it is possible, I like to use the local produce and organic ingredients, as it tastes oh, so much better. So, what did I choose...drum roll please.... Organic Pumpkin Granola Bars. What drew me to this recipe was that I liked the fact that her granola doesn't solely rely on having nuts as a main ingredient in the recipe. We have a tree nut allergy in the house, so I need to be extra careful of what kind of granola we can have. Being able to make our own granola bars was a hit, that way I could be able to control what ingredients were exactly in this. This recipe was a perfect fit to make our own variation of a nut-free granola bar.
3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup organic honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup wheat germ
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a square baking pan; note, I prepared my pan by adding a layer of aluminum foil to the bottom of the pan for easier removal of the granola bars. Once I lined the pan with foil, I lightly sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray.
First, add the oats, spices, and salt into a large bowl. Combine and set aside.
Next, in a smaller bowl, mix together the brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, honey, sunflower seed butter, and vanilla. Whisk those ingredients together until smooth. Then incorporate the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together until combined. Finally, add in any desired additional ingredients/mix-ins for an extra texture and yummy factor. I decided to add in some extra wheat germ, miniature chocolate chips, and dried cranberries, but I’m sure nuts or any other dried fruit would be just as nice.
Spread out the granola mixture into the pan and pat down. Bake for atleast 30-40 minutes for crispier bars. For a chewier bar, bake around 25-30 minutes. I made this recipe twice, once with a chewier/thicker bar in a 9x9 pan, and then a thinner crispier bar in a 9x13 pan and both were pretty yummy...
Let the granola cool, and then using a sharp knife, cut them into bars or break apart granola into crumbles and enjoy.
If you'd like to join the recipe club check out the link here on how to sign up for the Secret Recipe Club. Check it out here.
To see more recipes in the Secret Recipe Club check out the link collection below.