These vegan, gluten-free Pumpkin & Cranberry Granola Bars have a whole lot of wonder about them, and I've fallen for them bite after spice-filled bite.
To be honest, I initially thought this recipe was a flop. Not because of flavor, but because the pumpkin purée created a softer granola bar, and I had been hoping for a firmer, denser bar. Well, it appears that the granola bar's and my wires were crossed, because a quick transfer from refrigerator to freezer transformed these bars from good to blog-worthy. Storing the bars in the freezer offers them the opportunity to reach their chewy potential, and they're unstoppable in these cooler conditions.
To make these pumpkin and cranberry granola bars, you'll add oats, buckwheat groats, dried cranberries, raisins, pepitas, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin pie spice to a large mixing bowl. Then, you'll whisk together almond butter, brown rice syrup, pumpkin purée, pure maple syrup, and vanilla extract over the stove, and pour that sweet, buttery deliciousness over the dry ingredients. After a few easy, breezy stirs, you'll turn the mixture out onto a pan and press it into one large granola bar. The bar sets in the freezer for a bit, and then you'll slice it into squares or rectangles -- your choice -- before enjoying.
Pumpkin & Cranberry Granola Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup raw buckwheat groats
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup pepitas
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- ½ tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- ⅓ cup almond butter
- ½ cup brown rice syrup
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Add the rolled oats, buckwheat groats, cranberries, raisins, pepitas, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin pie spice to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the almond butter, brown rice syrup, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to a medium sauce pan. Heat over low and whisk together until all ingredients are incorporated (about 3-5 minutes).
- Pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and gently stir together.
- Turn out the mixture onto the baking sheet and use a spatula or your hands to spread the mixture out evenly into a ½-inch thickness.
- Cover the top of the pressed-out granola mixture with a piece of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to compact the mixture by rolling it back and forth over the parchment paper. Discard the top sheet of parchment paper.
- Pop the pan in the freezer for 1 ½ hours to set.
- Gently lift the granola bar out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Slice the large bar into smaller bars. Transfer the bars to an airtight container and return the container to the freezer for another hour before enjoying.
- Store the bars in the freezer.