Healthy pumpkin peanut butter squares

Sure, Pumpkin Spice is taking over the world and perhaps invading areas that shouldn’t be pumpkin spice’d, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy pumpkin treats anymore – ’tis the season, after all. I think the key is to try to enjoy pumpkin spice treats that actually include pumpkin, and I found a really easy, pretty healthy way to do this.

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The pumpkin peanut butter bars I made recently are an adaptation of another recipe, the main difference being I left out the one cup of sugar they suggested I include. Instead I added a little maple syrup, and the peanut butter I used was sweetened. The final result is a barely sweet, chewy and really tasty treat (made better, of course, when eaten warm and topped with yet more peanut butter). You can feel free to sweeten as desired, using real sugar, stevia, honey or maple syrup. You can also swap out peanut butter for any nut butter of your choice, but really, unless you have an allergy, pb is the way to go here.

You’ll need:

- 1/2 c peanut butter

- 1 c pumpkin puree (real pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling!)

- 2 c oats (whole rolled, not quick cook)

- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (reduce/increase to taste)

- 1 tsp cinnamon (reduce/increase to taste)

- 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Optional: Add raisins, nuts, coconut, whatever you want, really!

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Mix all this awesomeness together in a bowl with your hands until well mixed; it’ll be a bit sticky. Press into the bottom of a foil-lined and sprayed pan (8′ x 8′ should do). Put in the oven at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Ideally you want to wait until they cool before you slice, as they could still be a bit on the soft side, but I won’t judge you if you just start eating this stuff right out of the pan, in all it’s peanut buttery, pumpkiny glory. Enjoy!

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