Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pecan Pumpkin Granola Bars

I promise that my next post will include nothing pumpkin! But I had nearly half a can of pureed pumpkin left over from making White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies, so I figured I'd better use it before it went bad.

On our way home from a very fun weekend in the mountains with friends, Jason and I talked about how expensive granola bars are given how itty bitty they are. That, of course, got me to thinking about making my own granola bars. I've made plenty of granola but I've never bothered to form it into bars. Because tomorrow night we have our weekly birth class and it is our turn to bring the snacks, I thought I'd give it a go.

As I was getting ready to put the granola in the oven, Jason dubiously asked how I was going to get it to be hard. My response shows you how confident I was! Well, I'm gonna bake it. I dunno if it will work -- maybe it will, maybe it won't. I guess we'll find out...

I think these turned out pretty well for a first time shot. The toughest part of this recipe is cutting the granola into bars. Keep in mind that they aren't going to be perfectly shaped like the ones you'd buy in the store, so don't stress when they fall apart a bit. For the best results 1) use a really sharp knife, and 2) cut them as soon as you take them out of the oven.

Pecan Pumpkin Granola Bars
Kelley Gondring

Preheat oven 350ยบ

Line 13x9 inch casserole dish with aluminum foil. [For crispier granola bars, use a larger casserole dish - or two, if necessary - so that the granola is not as thick.]

In a large bowl, combine:
4 cups oats
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup butterscotch chips, chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate chips, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Mix so that the all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

In a medium skillet, bring to a simmer over medium heat:
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 scant cup pumpkin puree
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon molasses

Once all of the ingredients are incorporated, pour over the oat mixture. Use a spatula to evenly coat the oats. Pour into the lined casserole dish. Again using spatula, evenly spread in dish.

Bake 40 minutes.

Remove from oven. Use the aluminum foil hanging over the edges of the casserole dish to remove the granola from the dish. Immediately place on a cutting board and use a large butcher knife to cut into bars.

Place back in lined casserole dish (I used fresh aluminum foil) and bake for an additional 7 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Transfer to wax paper and let cool completely.

Decorate with melted white chocolate and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. (I melted 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, put it in a plastic bag, and cut a little hole in the corner.)

Let cool completely on wax paper.

Eat up!

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