Pumpkin, Chocolate Chip, & Oat Bars Recipe – Vegan, Gluten-Free & Guilt-Free Too!
Since returning from a week-long vacation in Maui, our marketing manager, Hillary, and her family were feeling the indulgences that included too many scrumptious fish sandwiches and hula pies. The family chose to give unrefined carbs and sugars (except for fruit) for the most part until Thanksgiving, so there won’t be any candy haunting their home this Halloween.
A few days ago, Hillary found a Healthy Pumpkin Bar recipe from Ambitious Kitchen to make on Halloween. Hillary swapped out the wee bit of brown sugar with a few drops of stevia and is going for bitter dark chocolate chips. She swears this is not cheating on the family plan. Who are we to argue, when we want her to send us all a batch of these pumpkin-chocolate chip bars?!
- 3 cups gluten-free oats
- 2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (or a few drops of stevia)
- 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
- 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 11-inch or 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. To make the oat flour, place oatmeal into a blender or food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes until oatmeal resembles flour.
Measure out just 2 1/2 cups of the oat flour and place in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices; set aside.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar (or stevia), vanilla extract, oil, and applesauce for 1-2 minutes until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Slowly add in oat flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Gently fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Timing will depend on what size pan you use, but definitely check around 15 minutes. Once finished baking, cool 10 minutes on wire rack before cutting into squares.