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It’s been three days.
I swear, that was the hardest three days of my life. Okay, I lied. The hardest three days of my life was probably something other than not posting a pumpkin recipe for a short amount of time. #dramaqueen
On Sunday, when we were driving downtown to watch the Chicago Marathon, I couldn’t help but notice my friend whip out her pumpkin spice granola bar. I have to be honest with you, I was a little bit jealous. And when I say a little bit, I mean I was jealous in a bad way. Jealous like “I want your new Ugg boots the first snow of the season” jealous. Yeah, it was bad.
So we had this conversation about how those granola bars are wheat free, but oats can be contaminated with gluten, blah blah blah. Long story short, I couldn’t eat the granola bar. Nor can I find one on the market that appeals to my taste buds, which was causing a problem for me.
Almost instantly, I began thinking of a recipe that could compare to her granola bar. I wanted a bar that was chewy and flavorful with different textures throughout. We’ve got a winner, folks!
Now the only problem I am having is keeping myself away from the pan that I baked these in. Although, I’m not quite sure that’s such a problem – mainly because they’re not in the pan anymore. I guess I should have said the only problem I am having is keeping myself away from the bag I put these in after I took them out of the pan. Much better.
Directions: Start by placing 1/2 cup of your oats into a mini food processor. Process until oats have reached a flour-like consistency. In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1-1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup oat flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Toss the ingredients until all are well incorporated. In another mixing bowl, combine 2/3 cup pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup agave nectar, 3 tbsp. maple syrup, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Whisk until smooth and add to dry ingredients. Stir until dry ingredients are mixed into the wet ingredients. Then, carefully fold in your cacao nibs, almonds, and dried cranberries. Grease a 9×9 pan and transfer the granola bar mixture into the pan. Using your hands, press the granola mixture into the pan so it is even. Bake in a 300 degree** oven for 20 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into 12 bars.
**For a crisper bar, try raising the oven to 325 degrees.
I no longer have any reason to be jealous of granola bars.