Pumpkin in sweet goods is a new concept to me. Having grown up only eating pumpkin roasted (always in it’s skin!) with dinner, or tossed through a salad (commonly with chickpeas and balsamic dressing) at a cafe, the concept of pureeing and cooking it in a dessert is still a little strange.
And a little awesome.
I imagine it’s a great way to get more vegetables into children, but living in an isolated town, it’s also a great way to get more vegetables into Jesse and myself when they are
looking limp and a week expired at the Northern store scarce. We haven’t had fresh fruit and vegetables in our house for a few days now, and won’t be doing a food order until the month is up. This means getting creative with the long-life things. I found a squash in the back of the cupboard which has already made three meals – squash and black bean burritos (best burritos yet! Watch this space for recipe), Thai green squash & coconut curry, roasted pumpkin squash seeds, and spicy coconut squash soup.
It was probably taking it a little overboard but I couldn’t resist cracking opening a can of squash puree (may as well make the most of the crazy stuff while we are in North America!) and throwing it into a batch of muesli bars, along with some pumpkin pie spices, pecans and dried cranberries for the week’s morning teas.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
Recipe adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod
While racing around a grocery store like headless chickens when we were in a nearby ‘city’, we accidentally bought a massive box of steel cut oats. I always thought steel cut oats were the large, flat, old fashioned oats (as opposed to the small flakey ones we have every morning for breakfast) but turns out they are whole groats that require 30 minutes of cooking to be consumed… Unfortunately, we don’t have 30 minutes every morning to prep breakfast.. This overnight method is great. And so are these oatmeal bars.
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
2 Tbsp flax seeds (optional)
2 Tbsp wheat germ (optional, toasting it first brings out great flavor)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In one bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Pour the pumpkiny-applesaucy-mix over the oaty-spice-chocolate mix and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Fold in the chocolate, nuts and dried fruit.
Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set – you don’t want them to be under baked. Remove from oven and let cool in pan.
Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Store in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze in snaplock bags for an energy snack on the go.