Baked Pumpkin Pie Protein Bars

Preparation time: 15 minutes making/25 to 30 minutes baking

Those who can’t get enough of pumpkin during the holiday season will savor these. These bars are a nice alternative to the “dessert-type” protein bars.

Tools: 8-inch square baking pan, parchment paper

1 cup rolled oats

1 ¼ cup (one 15oz can) pumpkin puree

1 cup rice protein powder

¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup plain, greek-style yogurt (or soy yogurt)

2 large eggs

1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Optional: cranberries, orange zest, pecans, cocoa nibs/mini chocolate chips

Makes 10 bars. Nutritional info: Calories: 130, Fiber: 3 grams, Sugars: 7 grams, Protein: 12 grams. (Note that this is a guide; there can be small variance depending on ingredient choices.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Line pan with parchment paper.

2. Place oats into food processor and pulse into a fine powder.

3. Add remaining ingredients and process until completely blended.

4. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with pecans and cocoa nibs (if desired).

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until edges begin to brown and toothpick inserted into center of pan comes out clean. Cool, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

6. Using liner, lift the bars from the pan onto cutting board. Cut into 10 bars.

Storage: Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap. These will keep one week in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.

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