I have a problem that occurs every year at this time. Not a serious one mind you, but nonetheless one that I struggle with as warm summer days transition to cool, crisp fall mornings. The calendar says it’s autumn but the warm weather still screams summer.
Do I dare say the “P” word yet?
Pumpkin that is. Herein, lies the struggle. For me, breaking out the pumpkin means officially saying goodbye to summer.
I don’t handle that well.
And that first taste of pumpkin needs to be at the right moment. The stars have to be aligned. Is it cool enough, have I planted my mums and am I wearing anything on my feet other than flip-flops? If the answer is yes, yes and yes…well hello pumpkin!
This week officially marks the beginning of fall but the long term forecast is still predicting temperatures in the 80’s. This year I decided that life is just too short to wait. I’m going to celebrate the arrival of pumpkin…warm temperatures, flip-flops and all!
With the kids back in school and with after-school activities beginning, I like to have snacks on hand that are healthy, satisfying and don’t leave them crashing from a sugar high. I came up with the idea for these soft, slightly chewy, no-bake granola bars for that reason (and because I was craving pumpkin of course).
I love that they are quick and easy to make, not too sweet and have healthy doses of protein, fiber and fat from almond butter, pumpkin puree and sunflower seeds. The kids love them because they have chocolate! Maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice really gives them that signature fall flavor and aroma. You can top them with some shredded coconut too!
Happy Autumn everyone!
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ⅓ cup crunchy almond butter
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- unsweetened coconut for topping
- In a food processor give the oats, cocoa powder and pumpkin pie spice a few pulses (4-5 quick pulses max).
- Pour the oats into a large bowl and with a spatula, stir in almond butter, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup to combine all ingredients well. You can taste the mixture at this point and adjust spices and sweetness to your liking.
- Line an 8X8 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Pour the mixture into center of pan and with the spatula, spread outward in the shape of the pan until the layer is about an ½ inch thick (the mixture will not fill the entire pan completely).
- Freeze mixture in the pan for about 45 minutes.
- Remove the parchment paper from the pan and place onto a cutting board.
- With a knife, cut into individual bars.
- Top with some the coconut if desired.
- Store individually in plastic wrap or in together in a tupperware container.
- Keep refrigerated.