Sunday, November 13, 2011

Deb's "Dy-no-mite" Pumpkin Bars

I love, love, love pumpkin, so this is a happy time of year for me.  This is a recipe I have honed over several iterations.  It began as a nearly fat-free, almost vegan recipe for pumpkin cookies, but I have altered it to fit my nutritional needs.  It is delicious, but very, very heavy and filling.  I will note where you might want to alter the recipe, depending on what you need:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9X13 baking pan with parchment paper (or grease it, I don't care what you do.  You never call me anymore.).

In a large bowl, combine the following dry ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats
1+1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup vanilla whey protein powder (note: I put this in to add protein.  The recipe will work just fine without it, but you will want to increase the whole wheat flour to around 1 + 3/4 - 2 cups, or maybe put in about 1/2 cup all-purpose flour.  It's a journey.)

Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients until they are completely blended and there are no lumps.  Using a sifter is helpful.  Once the dry ingredients are ready, add:

1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup Splenda with Fiber  (Note: I put this in to make this bar more fiber-rich.  Plain Splenda or white sugar works fine, or you can do 1/2 cup brown and 1/2 cup white.)
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.  (Or a couple of teaspoons pumpkin pie spice)

Blend the sugars and spices into the dry ingredients.  Once the mixture is even and fine, add

1 enormous (29 oz) can pumpkin (or two small cans, or two cups pumpkin puree)  (Note: do not use pumpkin pie filling, get the 100% pure pumpkin puree)
2 eggs (note: to make this recipe fat-free, use 1/3 cup applesauce, but I need the extra protein and fat from the eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash orange extract (optional, but I like the little citrus note there.  It will totally overpower if too much is used, though)

Mix everything up until it is smooth.  Add a bag of white chocolate chips and, if you like, a bag of craisins or a cup of raisins.  Pour mixture (which will be very thick) into your lined pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Start testing it; when the toothpick comes out cleanly it is done.

Allow it to cool and then slice into very small bars.  I recommend at least 36 servings per pan.  Here's what they look like:

I suggest freezing half for later consumption; a little goes a long, long way.