Birthday Pumpkin Granola Bars

Dear Kaki,

My friend Stephanie and I both have October birthdays.  And since we met in fifth grade, we’ve had many a birthday celebration together.  But alas, just as you and I are separated by many miles, Steph moved out of state a few years ago and now I have to steal her from her family for a few hours around the holidays and settle for texting and calling and Facebook-ing in between.

But no, we don’t need to not celebrate birthdays because of distance!  Kaki, I wrote her a card.  And mailed it to her!  What madness.  Also, I packaged it up with these granola bars.  I was pretty sure they’d travel well, and Steph’s a big Nutrisystem fan (I think?  Another plan?  Shoot, now I forget), so I knew a treat that also had some healthful aspects would be appreciated.

Also, I forgot to tell her all of the ways to enjoy them!  I realized that I’d left that out just as I was leaving the post office.  I eat these plain, of course, or crumbled over yogurt.  Or you can melt a tablespoon or so of butter, toss some cut up apple or pear or plum slices in it, crumble a granola bar over it, and microwave that for maybe a minute.  It’s like a nearly-instant, single-serving, vaguely-healthful-ish fruit crumble.  It’s a winner.

Birthday Pumpkin Granola Bars

(adapted from, unsurprisingly, Smitten Kitchen’s Thick Chewy Granola Bars)

I doubled the amounts from SK’s recipe so that I could make it in a 9×13 pan.  Also, so I could cut off the edges to make the final product prettier make sure these turned out alright eat some myself.

Maybe it's just that I haven't splurged on pecans in a long time, but chopping up this many pecans felt so decadent.  (I know, I may need to get out more.)

Maybe it’s just that I haven’t splurged on pecans in a long time, but chopping up this many pecans felt so decadent. (I know, I may need to get out more.)

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 1/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 heaping cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 scant cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup sunflower kernels
  • scant 1/4 cup sesame seeds

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons golden syrup (or corn syrup, or maple syrup, or… another syrup?)
  • 2 tablespoons water

Grease a 9×13 pan.  Pre-heat oven to 350*F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients, mixing well.  Then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.  Mix all of this together well.  Mix it on up!

Pour the granola bar mixture into the greased pan, pressing it firmly into place.  Make sure the top is level so that it bakes evenly!

Bake for about 40 minutes.  It should get a good, golden-brown color on top.  (I mean, the mixture itself is brown, so… you know… use your best judgement.)

Cool completely (I let this just sit out overnight) and then cut into bars!  Or other shapes, too, I suppose.  Sure.

The last one.  This one wouldn't fit in the tin I sent to Steph.  I totally didn't just, you know, keep one from her.  That'd be a terrible birthday transgression.

The last one. This one wouldn’t fit in the tin I sent to Steph. I totally didn’t just, you know, keep one from her. That’d be a terrible birthday transgression.

Have a great weekend, my dear!

–Caitlin

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