I have realized recently that many of my sweet recipes have included oats. This may be partly because I like the chewiness that the oats give to the food, but they also add fiber and other great nutritional value to foods. This recipe is deceptively healthy with the pumpkin (which is so full of antioxidants and vitamins), the oats, the dried cranberries and walnuts, as well as the optional topping of coconut and nuts. This recipe was inspired by a recipe posted on Cooks.com. However, I increased the size of the recipe, as well as added some other things like spices, dried cranberries, nuts and also added some topping that is similar to what is often used on top of oatmeal cakes. In addition, I tried cutting back on some of the sugar, which was alright because it still had a nice taste with the added sweetness of the topping and glaze.
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup sugar (I used approximately half brown sugar/half white sugar)
10 Tbsp butter or oil (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp)
1 1/2 tsp coconut extract/flavoring (may substitute vanilla or orange flavoring)
1 3/4 cup pureéd pumpkin (or a 15 oz. can of pumpkin pureé)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 scant tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup dried cranberries/craisins
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp coconut flavor (may substitute vanilla)
cream or milk as needed to achieve a moist consistency- not runny, though
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp coconut extract
2-3 Tbsp milk- adjust milk/sugar as needed to obtain desired consistency
Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan or line it with aluminum foil and lightly coat it with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix sugar and eggs together until well blended. Add in butter or oil and flavoring/extract and mix well. Combine dry ingredients together in a smaller bowl and add to wet ingredients alternating with the pumpkin pureé. Stir in the dried cranberries and nuts. Pour into prepared baking dish and spread out evenly.
Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over top of the baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes (watch carefully- check with a toothpick if the bars appear to be firm to light touch). After they are finished baking, cool in the pan on a wire rack for approximately 20 minutes. Then remove the bars, if on aluminum foil, to the counter and drizzle with the glaze (an easy way to drizzle is to mix the glaze and put into a plastic sandwich bag, cut the one corner at the tip and use like a piping bag- squeezing the glaze across the bars). Cut into bars after they have cooled adequately.
Serves approximately 15