Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chewy Pumpkin Pecan Granola Bar [bake]

My first PUMPKIN bake (&first bake granola bars) - Chewy Pumpkin Pecan Granola Bar.

It's true that taste preferences change as you age. Some of the ingredients I used to hate not like so much are the ones I frequently eat nowadays. I used to not like eggplants, and now my mom's stir fried eggplants has become one of my favorite dishes. I don't like bananas, but I have grown an appreciation for the natural sweetness and nutritional qualities it brings to my baked goods. Another one is dates. They are the perfect binder for my no bake granola bars and a much healthier alternative to refined sugar.

In this recipe, I am playing with some more new ingredients to expand my pantry.
puffed millet
pumpkin puree
ground flax seeds
Pumpkin, applesauce, along with honey are the main binder for this granola bar.

Chewy Pumpkin Pecan Granola Bar
recipe adapted from two peas & their pods
makes 12-15 granola bars
2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup puffed millet
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
70g (a little less than 1/4 cup) honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds 

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8" baking pan and set aside.
>>optional: toast oats/nuts/seeds and cool before combining
2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, salt, nuts, and seeds together. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth.
4. Pour wet mixture over dry and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in puffed millet.
5. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan.
6. Bake for 45-40 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
8. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely.
>>bars were crumbly and soft. After cutting into bars, return back to oven at 350F for 15 mins.
Lowering the brown sugar from the original 3/4 cup to 1/4 cup resulted in only 9g of sugar per bar (or 11g per bar for 12 bars). These are lightly sweetened with a delicate warm pumpkin flavor. I kind of miss the sweetness and would probably throw in a couple pureed dates next time when I am making these.

I took them out of the oven at 35, cooled for 5, and attempted to cut them into bars. The bars were very crumbly (a little moist) and ended up falling apart a bit. I proceeded to cut 15 bars and returned them back to the oven.

The bars dried out a bit more, and all the crumbs that fell out turned crispy/crunchy just like granola! Puffed millets are actually chewy. I was expecting them to resemble more like rice krispies. The overall texture of the bar was chewy with crunchy edges and nuts/seeds. 

These are great wholesome snacks to keep you full through the day! My dad said he felt like he was eating rice!

Taste: 3.5 stars out of 5
Still in the process of acquiring a taste for pumpkin.
Texture: 3 stars out of 5
Chewy bars with slightly crispy edges and crunchy fall outs.

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