You all saw this one coming didn’t you.
Yep, it’s pumpkin again!
You can’t blame me though, can you?! It’s Fall, and all I want to do is sit and eat pumpkin all day - I just want to sit on the floor with a cut open pumpkin in my lap and eat it with a spoon.
Ok.. gross.. not really.
But I DO want to put pumpkin puree in everything! Smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes, bars, breads, yogurt (oh yeah, I did this the other day – mixed in pumpkin puree with my Greek yogurt and added cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla protein powder, and stevia.. HELLO!)
These pumpkin pie bars were another experiment for a batch of healthy snacks for my delivery client! He’s been LOVING the PB & J bars I made him, and I thought this would be a great way to ‘pumpkin’ spice it up a little bit!
I thought to myself – why the heck CAN’T I put pumpkin puree in an energy bar?! It should work, right?
And to my delight – IT DID!
The batter was a tad more moist than I would have liked, as unless these are kept very cold and eaten cold, they soften up pretty quickly. My solution is to add more oats or protein powder which I noted in the recipe below!
I decided to go with cashews in the batter for a subtle taste, and of course up the pumpkiny-ness by throwing pumpkin seeds in the batter too! Dates work wonderfully to hold it all together and bring in that sweetness… they really put the “energy” into “energy bars”!
I’m a huge fan of coconut, and for some reason, coconut and pumpkin pie makes sense to me, so I threw some of that in the mix too, but if you aren’t a coconut fan you can easily omit this!
Oh my, oh my - I couldn’t believe how much the actual pumpkin pie flavor really shone through in these bars!
There’s no guessing what the flavor is when you take a bite – it’s like “POW!” …“PUMPKIN PIE!”
Why spend so much money on store bought energy/protein bars when you can make them at home in 4 simple steps; 1. throw ingredients in processor 2. process 3.put in pan 4. freeze!
Not only is it quick and easy, but you truly do save $ by making them yourself! AND you can rest in the fact that there are only healthy, whole ingredients that you yourself have lovingly put in them!
Some energy bars out there are full of ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, glucose solids, maltodextrin, malitol, sorbitol… and the list goes on.
No thank you!
So… got some oats (or protein powder), cashews, dates, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and cinnamon kickin’ around?! All you need is some pumpkin puree and that lovely little tin of pumpkin pie spice and you are set!
- 1 cup pitted dates (220g)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews (100g)
- 2 Tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds + 1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds (garnish)
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup rolled oats OR 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup pure pumpkin puree (I used canned, you can always use fresh!)
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. This may take some time, but just be patient with it – you can always leave the mixture a little chunky if you like as well!
- In an 8×8 baking pan, place parchment paper on the bottom.
- Add in the energy bar batter from the food processor – it will be quite sticky, so it’s advised to work with wet hands to prevent it sticking to your hands!
- Press down the mixture into a pan and use the back of a wet spoon to smooth the top.
- Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds.
- Freeze for 2-3 hours or until solid, and cut into 8 bars.
- Store in the freezer (if left at room temperature these bars will soften and become mushy, so it’s best to enjoy right out of the freezer where they keep a good consistency!)
If you prefer the bar to be more dense at last longer at room temperature, double the oats or protein powder to make the batter less moist! This will change the nutritional facts however.
Enjoy the rest of your lovely weekend! If you have a favorite energy bar you like to make, I’d love to hear about it!
Oh, and just for fun, here is a list of Homemade Energy Bars I’ve made in the past:
Nutritionist in the Kitch