pumpkin season holllllerrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
things i love about pumpkin season: sweaters, fluffy scarves, pumpkin whoopie pies, halloween, making absurd halloween costumes, pumpkin bread, not getting sweaty that much anymore when i'm just sitting around and doing nothing, crunchy leaves, pumpkin yogurt, dark nail polish, sufjan stevens, shorter days and longer nights.
i about jumped on canned pumpkin the day after labor day. i've so far made three loaves of pumpkin challah and spent a good hour thinking about making pumpkin risotto (it hasn't actually gotten that cold yet... remember: risotto weather is in the bottom eight degrees of pumpkin weather. i just made that up).
typically i ring in fall with pumpkin bread but who are we kidding when we call it bread? it is cake. and it is far from eggboy friendly. so in an effort to make something pumpkin-y that is healthier than cake and free of gluten and dairy, i have been making granola bars that are really reeeeeally tasty, not too sweet, and so convenient for a quick breakfast or snack. they're great to wrap up individually and keep in the freezer... and yes, the cute twine bow is required when you do this.
soft pumpkin granola bars
2 c rolled oats (trader joe's and bob's red mill sell gluten free rolled oats)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of cloves
a pinch of allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c almond milk (other milks would work too)
1 c pumpkin puree
2 to 4 tb honey, depending on how sweet you'd like them***
3/4 c toasted and chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, dried fruit, or any other fun mix-ins (optional)
***the original recipe (and the one that i use) does not include any sugar. i like them like that, but as you can see from the comments, people want their sugar! i asked readers who did indeed enjoy them on the first try and they added anywhere from 2 to 4 tablespoons of honey. you could also try these with molasses, agave, or brown sugar.
preheat oven to 400. prepare a 12-inch loaf pan and set aside.
in a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. mix in vanilla, eggs, almond milk, pumpkin, and honey. fold in nuts/seeds/fruit/mix-ins, if using.
spread evenly in loaf pan. bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is set and starts to darken.
let cool and slice into 1-inch bars. store in the fridge or freezer.
enjoy while wearing soft fluffy socks. and if you're having an extra sweet day, drizzle on another spot of honey!