Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Maple & Chia Pumpkin Bars

Maple & Chia Pumpkin Bars
Every fall when I post my first pumpkin recipe, I write about how nothing says autumn like pumpkin spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and of course, pumpkin.  But here it is the end of September and I have been too busy to even bake my first pumpkin recipe.  I am not sure when or why I came up with this twist on my all time favorite Pumpkin Brownie recipe, but it's a definite keeper. From past recipes, you know how much I love chia seeds, especially in baked goods where I love the chewy texture, and nutritional boost they give to even the sweetest of treats.  This recipe calls for a little less sugar than a lot of my pumpkin desserts, but they taste just as good.  I actually love the slightly less sweet nature of this recipe as it makes a satisfying breakfast or a perfect afternoon snack.  Of course you could definitely add a thin layer of cream cheese frosting and a few cinnamon sprinkles and make it even more delectable. (next time!) I originally used granulated maple sugar in this recipe, which adds a wonderful flavor, but costs a bit more, so a combination of organic brown and/or white sugar would work as well. And if you don't like chia seeds, you can substitute 2 or 3 eggs to help bind the bars together. I've actually added a couple of eggs in addition to the soaked chia once as well to make them a little more dense. And they are great with walnuts added in for an extra protein and flavor boost. My kids love these for snacks, and your house will smell like the taste of fall for hours after you bake them. Happy Pumpkin Spice Season everyone!

Maple & Chia Pumpkin Bars
mixing up the batter

1 (15 oz.) can organic pumpkin
1 C. maple sugar*
2/3 C. soaked chia seeds
          (and/or 2 - 3 organic eggs)
2/3 C. organic canola oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 C. organic whole wheat pastry flour
2 T. ground flax seed
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
chopped walnuts, optional

* can substitute a combination of organic brown and white sugar if you don't have granulated maple sugar.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, soaked chia seeds (or eggs), oil, and vanilla.  In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, flax seed, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves ginger, and salt. Slowly add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir well to combine.  Pour the batter into a lightly greases 9 x 13 inch pan, and bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Or you can put them in a paper lined muffin tin and bake at 350F for minutes.

ready to bake

cutting into squares

packed up for the fridge
(they were gone so fast I didn't
get a better photo!)
In muffin form, with walnuts

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