I think that this is a fabulous base recipe to use for tons of different granola bar variations. I am thinking of trying out a version that replaces the pumpkin with peanut butter and adding chocolate and peanut butter chips. You could replace the pumpkin with more applesauce or honey and add in dried cranberries, white chocolate and almonds (one of my favorite combos). The possibilities are seemingly endless, and I can’t wait to come up with more varieties of homemade granola bars.
You’ll want to make sure you don’t under bake these bars and wait until they are deep golden brown before removing them from the oven. Because the pumpkin will keep the bars moist, they need to baked fully so they don’t end up soggy.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip & Pecan Granola Bars
Yield: 10-12 granola bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Bake Time: 40 minutes
3¼ cups traditional rolled oats
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup cinnamon chips
½ cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the oats, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. In a medium bowl whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract until combined and smooth. Pour the mixture over the oats and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to mix until all of the oats are moistened. Stir in the cinnamon chips and pecans.
3. Evenly press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure not to under bake! Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars and serve. Leftover bars can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container and kept at room temperature.