Oatmeal Pumpkin Bars
I love bars. Bar cookies, that is.
The nice thing about bar cookies is that you can mix all the ingredients together, pour or layer them in a pan, bake them, allow to cool, cut and you are done. No individual attention required for each one. It's a group class kind of thing.
I also like bar cookies that don't go overboard on the added sugars. Did you know that the maximum added sugars suggested by the American Heart Association a day is between just 3 teaspoons (for kids) and 7 teaspoons (for men)? For women, it's an even 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons). If you add sugar to your tea or coffee you could easily max out before it's time to order dessert!
We don't have dessert every night in my house, but sometimes a little sweetness can hit the spot. In fact, in the fall, a pumpkin-y treat and a cup of (unsweetened) tea can be the perfect end to a busy day.
If you're going to have sugar, be picky,
know how much you're eating and make it count!
These bar cookies, which can also be eaten with a fork if you're feeling fancy, feature rolled oats and pure pumpkin purée with all the seasonal pumpkin spices.
Each bar contains just 1.33 teaspoons of added sugar (in the form of maple syrup and coconut sugar or Sucanat). This makes them low enough in sugar to be kid-friendly -- and if you feel like having a second, you can do so without overloading on your daily sugar.
Oatmeal Pumpkin Bars
Makes 36 1.5 x2" bars
2 cups pumpkin puree (homemade or a 15oz can)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ginger, allspice, nutmeg & cloves
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups spelt flour (can sub whole wheat pastry or GF all-purpose flour)
3/4 cup coconut sugar or Sucanat
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
8oz vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Gently rub the inside of a 9x13" pan with a stick of the vegan butter. This will cover it with a thin coat of butter that will prevent sticking. Set the remaining butter aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves until smooth. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, whisk together the sugar, oats, flour, baking powder and salt.
Cut the vegan butter in a 1/2" cubes. Add the cubes to the bowl of dry ingredients and, using your hands, mix and squeeze the butter cubes into the flour and oats until you get a uniform crumbly mixture. (I'd say it's like damp sand, but that wouldn't be appetizing.) This'll take about 2-3 minutes.
Measure out one heaping cup of this oatmeal crumble and set aside. Pour the remainder of the mixture into the prepared 9x13" pan and press down firmly and evenly to create the base of your bars.
Pour the pumpkin puree on top and spread evenly in the pan with a small spatula, going up to the edge of the pan, but not touching it. Sprinkle the reserved cup of oatmeal crumbles across the top of the purée, allowing spots of purée to show. Take your time and be artistic. Or don't. Either way works!
Put the pan into the oven and bake for 40 minutes until the top just begins to brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. If you're serving later, allow to cool completely before covering.