Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Bar Style
Fall is officially in full swing. Pumpkins. Pumpkin spice. Pumpkin everything. Apples. Chai spice. Cinnamon brooms…yep I got one from Trader Joe’s, and it smells amazing. It smells like fall, and it smells like baking.
So even though I’m making efforts to avoid sugar and stick to my whole foods nutrition plan, I couldn’t resist whipping up one of my all-time favorite treats, with a pumpkin spice twist: meet my Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Bars.
Honestly, I’d already tweaked the original recipe to be vegan and refined sugar-free (aside from whatever was in the chocolate chips) by using flax eggs, coconut oil, and coconut sugar, but I took it a step further and cut the sugar even more and added pumpkin and spices to the mix.
Once they were out of the oven, I immediately remembered why I haven’t been baking as much: it’s nearly impossible for me to resist treats when they’re in front of me! And when they’re ‘healthier,’ it’s just way too easy to justify having it for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, and for dessert…!
I definitely wouldn’t recommend consuming these for every meal – they are a sweet carby treat after all. But, that said, they are packed with protein, fiber, nutrients, healthy fats, and even add a dose of iron and antioxidants from the chocolate (as long as you choose high-quality chocolate).
So go ahead and make them, and be sure to share the pumpkin spice chocolate deliciousness.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free pumpkin oatmeal chocolate cookie bars
- 1 1/4 cup almond flour (blanched is best, meal works too) any gluten-free flour works
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp monk fruit
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 2 tbsp ground flax (plus 6 tbsp water to make 2 flax eggs)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
For the Chocolate Filling
- 2 cups shredded cacao butter *can sub one cup of high quality chocolate chips for the cacao butter and cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup 100% cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 - 1 tsp monk fruit
- 2 tbsp coconut cream
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper, with extra hanging over the edges so you can easily remove. In a small bowl, combine the ground flax with the water, stir gently once or twice, and set it aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, monk fruit, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you're using a hand mixer), mix the pumpkin puree, applesauce, almond butter, flax mix, and vanilla.
When it's well-mixed, put the speed on low and slowly add the dry mix to the wet. Once its thoroughly combined, add the oats while it's on low. The mixture should be quite thick. Set it aside.
Using a double boiler set-up (or directly in a saucepan), melt the cocoa butter. Once it's melted remove from the heat and stir until any remaining solids dissolve. Stir in the cocoa powder until it's thoroughly combined and no dry powder remains. Stir in the vanilla, monk fruit, coconut cream, and maple syrup.
Take about half to 2/3 of the pumpkin oat mixture and, using a spatula, coat the bottom of the baking dish so the bottom layer is about half an inch thick. Press it down and into the corners. Then take the chocolate mixture and pour it over this bottom layer. Take small chunks of the remaining oat mixture and drop it on top of the chocolate, spaced roughly around so the chocolate peeks through. They don't have to be perfect!
Bake for about 25 minutes. If the dough seems a bit soft, bake for up to an extra 5 minutes, depending on your oven.
Remove from the heat and let cool completely. You may even wish to refrigerate these before cutting to ensure the chocolate is fully set. (Although, sometimes I like them fresh out of the oven and super gooey – warning they will not look pretty this way!)
Store in an airtight container, and keep in the refrigerator if storing more than one day.