The Wait For Homemade Pumpkin-Cranberry Granola Bars Is Over!

Homemade Pumpkin-Cranberry Granola Bars
It occurred to me yesterday that I did a pretty mean thing to my readers (sorry!).  On Sunday, via my Facebook fan page, I teased with the fact that my apartment was flooded by the oh so sweet smell of pumpkin-cranberry granola bars that were busy toasting up in the oven.  Then, (here's where the mean part comes in) I didn't post the recipe until a couple days later (meaning, uh, today).  What a jerk, huh?  I left my poor readers in a lurch, waiting for the details and the recipe.  I like to try post my recipes right after I make them but there's always that one, every once in a while, that doesn't get posted right away.  But if it's any consolation, these guys are SO worth the wait!  Crunchy and still soft and chewy at the same time, I've really been enjoying them for breakfast.  On some mornings I'll crumble one up into a cup of all-natural yogurt or I'll just enjoy them on their own.  These are perfect on a crisp fall day, swirled with cinnamon that warms you right up and laced with sweet pumpkin flavor, these rock.

Another added bonus, they take about 30 mins to make from start to finish (This doesn't count cooling time but if you're like me, you're not good at waiting for things to cool!).  Additionally, these as versatile as they are delicious.  Feel free to get a little crazy here and use any dried fruit and nut combination you'd like.  Might I recommend dried apricot and almonds?  Or maybe some dried blueberries and cashews?  Get a little imaginative and experiment with your combinations.  You can also omit the pumpkin if you'd like and you'll end up with a firmer bar.  That being said, no matter how you slice it, these bars are waaaay better than anything you can buy in the store.  Enjoy!

Homemade Pumpkin-Cranberry Granola Bars

- 2 cups oats (I like Quaker the best)
- 3/4 c. wheat germ
- A big handful or two of nuts (I used dry roasted peanuts)
- A big handful of seeds (I like flax the best, they give it a nice subtle crunch)
- A big handful or two of dried fruit (I used dried cranberries) 
- 2 tbs butter
- 2/3 c. brown sugar
- A little less than 1/2 a c. of honey
- 2 tbs pumpkin (I used canned pumpkin)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- A couple pinches of sea salt
- I also dusted a little bit of cinnamon on top (yum!)

In a wax paper lined baking sheet, toast the oats in the oven at 400, making sure to turn every couple of minutes so that they don't burn. Meanwhile, on the stove, combine butter, brown sugar, vanilla, honey, salt, cinnamon and juice. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently so that the bottom doesn't burn. Once the oatmeal starts to brown a little, add the nuts, wheat germ, and seeds and put the mixture back into the oven for a couple of minutes. After the mixture has toasted a little, (keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn) add the dried fruit and put aside.

When the brown sugar/butter mixture starts to get a little bubbly and is thoroughly combined, pour over the oatmeal mixture. Working quickly stir the brown sugar/butter mixture with the oatmeal and thoroughly combine. The granola should be a mass of warm sticky yumminess by this point.  When it cools a little, press the granola firmly into the pan and around the entire bottom of the pan.  Bake for an additional 15 - 30 minutes until they reach the desired level of chewiness.


Anonymous said...

LOVE granola bars. 2 tbsp of pumpkin sounds like so little. Were they pumpkin-y enough? I guess with anymore they'd be too moist.

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Aren't homemade granola bars the best? I used the 2 tbs because I was afraid they'd get too soggy if I used more than that and I added the pumpkin pie spice to help bring out that flavor. In the future, I might try messing around with the variations but I was happy with the way these came out. Let me know if you try them with more pumpkin added!

Kimmy Bingham said...

I'm definitely trying these. I'm always looking for a granola bar that fits MY ideals for what it should have in it. I rarely consider making my own... but these seem super quick! Thanks for the idea!

Wicked Domestic said...

The granola sounds amazing! I've been meaning to make some for years now...I think you gave me the push I needed! Thanks!

Kathy said...

I just nmade a loose pumpkin granola and used about 1/4 cup of pumpkin (the rest of my recipe was oddly similar to yours...) and it turned out great. the pumpkin really shone through, I also used Maple Syrup as a sweetener in lieu of honey, it's thinner but I prefer the flavor!

Jen said...

Way to be a tease! These look awesome. I've never made granola bars.

Megan said...

I love when granola bars are soft and chewy but still cruncy at the same time. They look gorgeous!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Kathy, that's interesting that you used 1/4 cup pumpkin. I've been making my granola like this for years (this is the first time I made bars) and this is the first time I added pumpkin to it. Maybe I'll be a little more liberal with it next time, thanks for the tip!

MichellePC said...

Um, I want one of these immediately. Seriously. Awesome recipe!

Kerstin said...

Mmm, these sound addicting! I love that you dusted a bit of cinnamon on top too, sounds perfect with the pumpkin and cranberries.

LBK said...

What a great alternative to processed packaged granola bars containing yucky ingredients like HFCS and canola oil. Butter is always better. The name of the recipe just begs for a couple tablespoons of pumpkin seeds.

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