Loaded with wholesome ingredients and plenty of sweetness and spice, these soft and chewy No Bake Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars are the ULTIMATE fall treat!
It’s amazing how big of a difference a good night’s sleep can make to your well-being… or mine, as the case may be. I’ve been running low on the zzz’s for a little while now, and it finally caught up to me this past weekend when I broke down in a fitful “woe is me, everything sucks” sobfest on Sunday night before passing out at 8:45 PM. Cue collective “awwwwww.”
And the funny thing is that I didn’t even realize it or think to attribute any of my “symptoms” to a lack of sleep… Writer’s block, a [severe] lack of creativity, trouble focusing, a lack of enthusiasm for life in general — I thought I was just going through some sort of seasonal funk. But seeing as I woke up on Monday morning (after an unheard of 8.5 hours of sleep) feeling like my normal peppy self again, I’m going to blame sleep dep. for that one. Jerk.
But I’m back, baby! And I come bearing gifts [of the edible sort]…
I know I just posted a pumpkin granola bar recipe a little while ago, but these No Bake Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars are a completely different breed of delicious.
First, there’s no pumpkin in them — just a delicious dose of aromatic pumpkin spice (aka: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves). That’s not to say that I’m getting burnt out on pumpkin, but I would have needed to open a brand new can, and I wasn’t quite ready to make that kind of commitment. Instead, the stars of these bars (Dr. Seuss eat your heart out) are dates…
Dates that, when processed with almond butter, honey, and aforementioned pumpkin spice make a sticky, sweet and spicy base that you’ll have trouble actually getting in to bar form because you’ll just want to eat it straight from the processor by the spoonful, which I may or may not have done… repeatedly.
But put.the.spoon.down and pick up your spatula — trust me on this one — because adding in some oats and crispy rice cereal will reward you with a bar that’s irresistibly soft, chewy, sweet, and spicy, with a subtle crisp in every bite. And the best part is that you won’t have to wait long to dig in because these bars require no-baking and are whipped up in a flash. All they need is a little chilling time in the freezer, and you’re good to go.
As an added bonus, you can customize these bars to your heart’s content. They’re naturally gluten-free as long as you use certified GF oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill) and crispy rice cereal (I like One Degree); you can easily make them vegan by swapping out the honey for brown rice syrup; and they become nut-free by using a sunflower seed or soy nut butter (I like Wowbutter) in place of the almond butter. You can even toss in a handful of chocolate chips, nuts, seeds, or dried fruit if you wish. I almost went the chocolate route myself, but ultimately decided against it — I think they’re perfect just the way they are (read: it’s true love).
- 1 cup (~120g) dates, pitted and chopped*
- 1/4 cup creamy almond butter
- 1/4 cup honey**
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 1 cup quick oats***
- 1 cup crispy rice cereal
- Line an 8x8 baking pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, leaving a few inches of overhang on the sides to allow for easy removal. Set aside.
- Add dates to the bowl of a food processor and process until they are completely broken down and form a smooth paste*. Add almond butter, honey, and spices, and process for a few more seconds until everything is well combined.
- Transfer date mixture to a large bowl and stir in the oats. When oats are well incorporated, add the cereal, being careful to avoid crushing it.
- Transfer the mixture into your prepared baking pan, using your fingers or a spatula to ensure that it is pressed down firmly and evenly. Cover pan with a sheet of foil and place into the freezer to set, at least 15 minutes.
- When mixture has set, remove from pan using the foil overhang, and use a sharp knife to cut into individual bars. Bars are best when stored in the fridge.
** Sub out the honey for brown rice syrup if you want these to be vegan. I wouldn't use maple syrup of agave because it may not be thick enough to get these to stick together.
*** This recipe requires the use of quick oats or the bars may not stick together properly. If you don't have quick oats, just pulse regular oats in your food processor until they break down slightly. Also, make sure you use certified gluten-free oats if you need these to be gluten-free.
Looking for more baked treat to enjoy alongside your drink? Try one of these!
How many hours of sleep do you need to feel your best?
How many do you usually get?