Pumpkin has a wealth of powerful antioxidants known as carotenoids, organic pigments that have the potential to ward off various types of cancer and heart disease, along with cataracts and macular degeneration. But what else can pumpkin do for power bars? How about add richness, deep flavor, and moisture, with a minimum of calories and no fat. If you want to up the pumpkin ante further, sprinkle the bars with pepitas (green pumpkin seeds). They add great crunch, color, and nutty flavor, as well as protein.
- 3/4 Cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/4 Cup pumpkin purée (not the pie filling)
- 1 Cup lightly packed all-natural, sweetened vanilla protein powder
- 1/4 Cup dark molasses
- 1/2 Cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 Teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/3 Cup dark chocolate chips
- 2 Teaspoons coconut oil
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Process the oats in a food processor until they resemble a fine powder. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the chocolate chips and coconut oil, and process until completely blended.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler according to the package directions. Whisk in the coconut oil until blended. Spread or drizzle over cooled, uncut bars. Alternatively, dunk the ends of cut bars and place on an unlined cookie sheet. Rerigerate for 30 minutes until the coating has hardened.
Using the liner, lift the mixture from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 10 bars. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.