“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
– Albert Camus
I always think of North Carolina as the land of the pines, but right now, it is the deciduous, changing beauties getting their moment of glory. Every time I turn, I seem to catch another leaf bursting into one of a thousand hues of ever-brighter autumnal color. The countryside is blossoming.
In a few days, the Honey and I are packing up and heading north for a weekend getaway in the mountains of Asheville. We often fall trap to the all-too-easy lure of fast-food on long car-trips, but this time, I’m planning ahead. I decided to make a few easily-portable and healthier snacks to satisfy any hunger pangs that may arise along the way.
With the Fall season’s new class of produce in mind, I whipped up some homemade pumpkin spice granola bars, which, if they survive until Friday morning, will make sweet and satisfying treats for the car. I packed them full of oats, pumpkin, coconut, vanilla and spices, and for an indulgent twist, added a light drizzle of white chocolate.
If you also plan to drizzle the granola bars in white chocolate, I find that filling a pastry bag (or in a pinch a large Ziploc bag with the corner sniped off) and in a sense “piping” the chocolate onto the bars works nicely. This method allows for more control as the melted chocolate can quickly become quite goop-y and unwieldy.
Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars
- 4 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup puréed pumpkin
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients until well-combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir to combine, until the entire mixture is moist and well-incorporated.
- Pour the granola onto the sheet pan, and using your fingers or the back of a spoon, press the mixture into an even layer from edge to edge. Bake for 35-40 mins, until the granola is golden brown and just firm to the touch.
- Remove the pan from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper to remove the granola. Let rest on a baking rack, until completely cooled. Using a serrated knife, carefully slice the granola into bars.
- If adding the chocolate drizzle, melt together the chocolate chips and cream in the microwave or using a double-boiler, stirring constantly until completely smooth. Drizzle the granola bars with the chocolate. Let cool.
- Can be stored for up to a week in an airtight container.