Blondies? Pumpkin? Spices? A swath of chocolate? And packed with protein? Check, check, check, check, and check!
I am all for oat-y and dried fruit-y power and energy bars, but the taste and texture of these bars–mildly sweet, moist, and tender–is a welcome departure. The chocolate is completely optional, but I highly recommend it, as the bars are not super-sweet. You can spread the bars with melted chocolate, as I’ve done here, or keep it simple by stirring in 1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips when you combine the wet and dry ingredients. Easy. If you wish to leave the chocolate out entirely, I suggest adding 2 tablespoons dark cooking molasses or honey. Yum.
I love that these bars offer some vegetables via a post-workout snack or breakfast on the run. And oh what a vegetable: there’s strong evidence that beta carotene — of which pumpkin has an abundance — helps protect against a variety of health conditions, including several strains of cancer and heart disease. You can add these high-protein pumpkin blondie bars to the list of reasons for throwing a can or two of pumpkin into the shopping cart. Think of it as your new favorite pumpkin bread with a turbo protein boost.
Because I am a proud geek, I have to close with this tidbit from Early American history. Apparently the colonists had a hunch that pumpkins were a superfood — they would chant the following poem in appreciation for the much-loved squash: “We have pumpkin at morning and pumpkin at noon. If it were not for pumpkin, we would soon be undoon.” For heaven’s sake, don’t be undoon: make a batch of these blondies asap!
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup naturally sweetened vanilla whey or raw vegan protein powder
- 1–1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1–1/4 cups unsweetened pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
- 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon liquid stevia (or sweetener of choice)
- 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment; lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a food processor, process the oats into a powder. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk the pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and stevia until blended.
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the oat mixture, stirring until blended. Spread into prepared pan, smoothing top.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes or until just set at the center. Cool completely in pan, then remove using the liner. Melt the chocolate chips in microwave according to package directions and spread over cooled bars. Chill 10 minutes, then cut into 10 bars.
(1) Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you do not have pumpkin pie spice, use the following combination of spices: 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.
(2) Chocolate Chip Blondies: If you do not want to fuss with spreading the chocolate atop the bars, simply stir in 1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips (if you have regular chocolate chips, give them a chop so they will be distributed throughout the blondies).
(3) Storage: These bars will keep in an airtight storage container for 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer (let defrost at room temperature). They keep well at room temperature when packed for lunches or in a gym bag.
(4) # of scoops: Most protein scoops are around 30-33 g which translates to about 1/4+ cup; so you are looking at roughly 4 scoops of powder.
- Category: Power Bar, Protein Bar
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 103
- Fat: 3.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 9.3 g
- Protein: 10.7 g