Tag Archives: crunchy

Pumpkin Granola Bars Two Ways: Chewy and Crunchy


Fall is already well underway!  I can’t believe how fast Halloween is approaching.  We’ve been promoting our book, Hush Little Monster,  and doing book signings and readings.  It will continue into November.  For a list of appearances, click here.   We would love to see you if you are in the area during those times!
I was also featured on Kathy Temean’s Illustrator Saturday post over the weekend about my work and process.  Check it out here.
The coming of fall also brings…. pumpkin puree in the stores!

I thought it would be fun to develop a pumpkin recipe, and I was inspired to try making pumpkin granola bars.  I love Kashi’s because they are really crunchy and not too sweet.

I hadn’t known how hard it would be to come up with something that I would be satisfied with! The last couple of weeks have been devoted to this enterprise.  There have been “fails” along the way, but even these have tasted pretty good.  The problem has been getting it to be crunch-worthy and stick together!

Crunchy

I  initially based my ingredients on a peanut butter chewy granola bar that I will share soon in a future post.  I exchanged the peanut butter for pumpkin and applesauce, decreased the sugar, and used pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds) instead of almonds. Unfortunately, this version of granola bar had rice cereal in it and became soggy immediately when it came in contact with the moisture of the pumpkin and applesauce!  I could hear the “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” as I was putting the pan in the oven…  FAIL!  It tasted good, but the texture was like mochi. 😦

In the second round of my quest for crunch, I omitted the rice cereal, upped the oats, and added egg white  thinking this would help the crispiness as in Anna’s Chunky Granola.   The result was a really good, tasty chewy version of pumpkin granola bars.  They are very much like an oatmeal bar cookie.  Jamie loves these and prefers them to the crunchy version.

Chewy with chocolate chips and dried cranberries!

Unsatisfied, I pushed onto a third round.  This time, I omitted the egg white, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries, thinking less chunky ingredients would help make them stay together better when cutting.  I also baked the mixture on a baking sheet in a thinner layer than the one in the baking pan.

The result was a crunchy, tasty granola bar! Finally!  There was some breakage — they are fragile– but the resulting granola is as delicious.  I mixed it with the dried cranberries and chips that I had omitted.  This granola is addicting.

I could eat this all day long.

As a side note, this granola — and their bar counterparts (I break them up) are heavenly with ice cream! Also, Jamie has come up with a novel recipe on his own which he says he will post on his blog, involving the chewy granola bars and cookie butter.   Trust me, it is wonderful.
I could go on experimenting — adding flax seeds, wheat germ, etc., but if I did, I’d end up eating batches more of granola and granola bars, and I wouldn’t be able to fit in my jeans, so I’ll stop for now!

Crunchy?

So there you have it.  Two pumpkin granola bars with similar flavors but different textures.  Which do you prefer?  Crunchy? Or chewy?

Chewy?

Chewy Pumpkin Granola Bars

2 cups oats

¼ cup pumpkin seeds (I used roasted, salted pepitas – they are smaller and have been removed from the shell)

¼ cup pumpkin puree

¼ cup applesauce

¼ cup honey

1 tablespoon oil (see note below)

1 egg white

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon pumpkin spice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

¼ cup chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, toss oats and pepitas together.  Set aside.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, applesauce, oil, egg white, honey, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and brown sugar together.  Pour over dry ingredients and stir until everything is coated evenly. Add dried cranberries and chocolate chips and stir to combine.

4.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Really press down and pack it in as tightly as you can in an even layer.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, watching closely at the end.  Let pan cool on rack for about 5 minutes.  Run knife around edge, invert pan onto cutting board.  Cut sheet of granola in half, then into fifths, so you have ten bars.  Carefully transfer bars to rack and let cool completely.

Crunchy Pumpkin Granola Bars

2 cups oats

¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas – see above)

¼ cup pumpkin puree

¼ cup applesauce

¼ cup honey

1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon pumpkin spice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, toss oats and pepitas together.  Set aside.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, applesauce, oil, honey, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and brown sugar together.  Pour over dry ingredients and stir until everything is coated evenly.

4.  Pour mixture onto prepared sheet.  Shape into a square shape, and press down and pack it together as tightly as possible in an even layer about 3/8-inch thick. Bake for about 20 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and cut square in half and then into fifths, so you have ten bars.  They are very fragile, so be careful!  Of course any broken pieces can turn into tasty granola though….

5.  Return baking sheet to oven and cook for another 5-8 minutes, watching closely at the end of baking.  Let pan cool on rack for about 5 minutes.  Carefully transfer bars to rack and let cool completely.   They will harden up as they cool.

These can be stored in an airtight container.  If they lose their crispness, after a day or two, just toast in a toaster oven for a minute or two and then let cool completely.  They will be crunchy again!

Note:  I broke my resolve and made another batch today for a play date!  I accidentally forgot the oil (duh!), but they came out OK, and were still crunchy.  So oil is optional.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cookies, Desserts, Snack, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Cookies

Last week my friend, Jessica, posted a fantastic recipe in the comments section of my Experimenting with Trader Joe’s Peanut Flour post.

Did any of you see it?  It’s a recipe for chocolate chip cookies made with added peanut flour and Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels.  They have a delicious peanutty flavor that harmonizes with the chocolate chips.  The pretzels give the cookies a nice salty note and crunch that contrasts with the chewy cookie texture.

Do you see that piece of crunchy goodness?

It is too good a recipe to let go undetected by other readers, so I am featuring it in this post (with Jessica’s blessing – thanks Jessica!)

Check out her new site also.   She’s opening a cute crafts space/store for kids in Durham, NC.  Jessica is a talented artist and amazing baker.  For my baby shower in 2004 she made me the most gorgeous chocolate cake which she decorated by creating some illustrations from my books – out of white chocolate!

Sheep are from Good Night Engines. Moon face is from a promo I did.

We saved the little pieces of chocolate art for a year and ate them while celebrating the anniversary of Jamie’s birth – his first birthday.

Now years later, my “baby” helps me bake goodies in the kitchen.  He and I made Jessica’s cookies to bring to his Didi and Mimette’s (grandparents’) house this past weekend, where they were happily devoured.

After playing in the snow, these cookies hit the spot.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Cookies

2 sticks butter
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar

2 eggs
1 T vanilla
3/4 t baking powder
2 c flour
1/2 c peanut flour
2 c peanut butter pretzels
1 c chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugars together in a stand mixer until fluffy.
  3. Add egg and vanilla, beat again.
  4. Whisk together baking powder and flours together in another bowl.  Slowing add this to batter while mixer is on lowest setting.
  5. Add peanut butter pretzels and chocolate chips.  Stir until evenly incorporated.
  6. Roll into 1″ sized balls and flatten on a baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat liners leaving about 2″ in between cookies.
  7. Bake in oven for about 14 minutes, switching positions of pans halfway through.
  8. Cool on sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Filed under Children, Cookies, Desserts