Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
Maybe I’ve been sitting too close to a lit pumpkin spice candle, but I felt the air change this week. Instead of flip flops and short sleeved tees, I found myself subconsciously reaching for slippers and scarves. Every time I look outside, I notice a new tree turned golden orange, I’m dumping cinnamon on everything, and now my mornings feels incomplete without Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars.
Fall and I have been flirting a bit by way of Apple Coffee Cake and Butternut Squash Spinach Enchiladas, but I’ve also been secretly hoarding the last of the summer tomatoes with the furtive obstinence of a kid who doesn’t want to go back to school.
It wasn’t until Monday night when a crisp breeze prompted me to run back into the house and grab my sweater that I felt truly, unabashedly excited for fall. Instead of looking at that sweater with distain over what it foretold, I giddily selected a scarf to match it. I’m ready for apple picking, hot buttered bourbon cocktail sipping, and all of the Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars I can eat.
Packed with pumpkin flavor and warm spices, these Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars are loaded with taste-good, feel-good ingredients like cranberries, ginger, and dark chocolate. They’re ultra moist, pleasantly chewy, and incredibly filling. I love having one warmed up with a bit of Greek yogurt for breakfast or with cinnamon tea for my midafternoon pick-me-up, and I also elicited some serious snack envy when I pulled one out of my purse on my flight home from New York last weekend.
I was a bit worried about how the pumpkin and peanut butter would go together, but the combo turned out to be perfect. The peanut butter makes the bars moist, but its flavor is subtle. The true stars of these bars are the pumpkin, warm spices, and mix-ins. I went a little heavy on the ginger, because I love the way its tastes paired with the dried cranberries, and the mini chocolate chips, a last-second addition, are not technically necessary, but they certainly don’t hurt.
OK, who are we kidding here. Add the chocolate and the cranberries. No regrets, just pumpkin peanut butter breakfast bliss!
In addition to being supremely tasty, these Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars are incredibly good for you. Thanks to the pumpkin and peanut butter, these oatmeal breakfast bars contain no butter or no oil, but they stay delightfully soft and moist. They’re also sweetened with only maple syrup, and thanks to Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats and Oat Flour, they’re gluten free too!
I know from friends with celiac that not all oats or oat flours are created equal—it’s critical for them to choose oat products that are manufactured at a certified gluten-free facility like Bob’s (I actually saw the factory firsthand in Portland!) Whenever I’m baking for friends who cannot have gluten, I always choose Bob’s Red Mill, because I know the products are safe and scrumptious.
This Saturday, Ben and I are celebrating fall by heading to an apple orchard (I lured him via the promise of apple pie). I plan to bring a Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bar to enjoy beside my apple cider, while wearing a coordinating scarf and chunky sweater. Never mind that the forecast is 69 degrees; fall is here, and my boots and I are (finally) ready.
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate Chips and Cranberries
- 2 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats
- 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour*
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder — (I recommend aluminum-free)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree — NOT pumpkin filling
- 1 cup milk — of choice (skim, almond, soy, etc.)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup — (I like Grade B)
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, — almond butter, or other nut butter of choice
- 1/2 cup desired mix-ins: chopped nuts — dried cranberries, chocolate chips, diced apricots, coconut (I used 1/4 cup cranberries and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, egg, maple syrup, and peanut butter until smooth. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients, then gently stir by hand, just until combined. Fold in any desired mix-ins.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until golden and set on top, dry at the edges, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan completely, then slice into bars.
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