These vegan Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oat Bars with Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Glaze will be your go-to fall favorite when you want something as nourishing as it is festive and delicious.
Most people I talk to are “summer people” and more than a little sad to see it come to an end. I have always been a autumn person, before pumpkin spice lattes were even a thing.
As a kid growing up in Buffalo, when the air started to turn crisp the leaves would begin showing their splendor in various shades of red and gold, and pumpkins would start popping up on front porches, later to be carved into jack-o-lanterns. We’d go apple picking as a family out in the country, and the fridge was always stocked with fresh, local apple cider. My mom would make things like pumpkin pie, molasses cookies, roast chicken, and pot roast, filling the house with the comforting smell of home. And any time there was talk of a storm, my sister and I would wait more than a little impatiently for our first snow day of the season, never quite knowing if we’d have a full week off or just a day (because in Buffalo you really just never know). It was magic, all of it.
I know I’m a little early with pumpkin spice, but since fall is officially here (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway), I wanted to share this recipe so you can enjoy it all season long. Once you make it, I think you’ll be as hooked as I am; I’ve already made these bars twice in the past two and a half weeks! I love that they’re full of clean, healthy ingredients, but taste like a legitimate treat. Because there’s nothing better than being able to feel like you’re indulging when you’re really nourishing your body, right?
With things like dates, walnuts, pumpkin, and oats, I would definitely consider these bars breakfast-friendly. I used Better Oats Classic Steel Cut Instant Oatmeal with Flax, which makes these bars hearty enough to stay with you all morning if you have them for breakfast. I like these particular oats because they’re quick-cooking (if you’re making a bowl of them, they're ready in just 2 and a half minutes), so they integrate really well into the batter for this recipe. (Plus these oats are a good source of ALA Omega-3!) And to keep these breakfast-worthy, I skipped the refined sugar here, instead using dates and just a touch of maple syrup for sweetness.
These bars are moist and dense with a slight chewiness, somewhere between snack cake meets cookie, but in bar form. They have the perfect amount of sweetness, just enough to satisfy a dessert craving without being cloying oversweet, and they’re full of pumpkin spice goodness. They hold their shape surprisingly well and have a bit of texture and nutty flavor thanks to the steel cut oats. If raisins (or even dried cranberries) in baked goods are your thing, go ahead and add a handful here, or you could go with a handful of walnuts stirred in at the end for crunch.
The cacao butter glaze on top is perfect; it’s basically a healthy version of pumpkin spice white chocolate and its flavor is unparalleled (not to mention its aroma!). Because this glaze is cacao butter-based, it stays solid (but not in a crunchy way) at room temperature; unlike coconut oil, it holds its shape and won’t get soupy because doesn’t melt at warm room temperature (76F). If you can’t find cacao butter, no worries because you could go with a regular powdered sugar glaze instead. To keep it fall-themed, I think my two-ingredient apple cider glaze recipe that I used on these doughnuts would be delicious.
What’s your favorite fall food or fall memory?
- 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 10 dates/185 g)
- 1 cup (115 g) walnuts
- ¾ cup (180 g) pumpkin puree (canned is fine, but not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mix
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 pouches (about 1½ cups) Better Oats Classic Steel Cut Instant Oatmeal with Flax
- 3 oz (85 g) cacao butter
- ½ tablespoon pumpkin puree (canned is fine, but not pumpkin pie filling)
- ½ tablespoon pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F; line a 9 by 9-inch baking dish with 2 pieces of parchment paper so it hangs over all 4 sides and you can easily lift the bars out later. Lightly brush the parchment paper with coconut oil.
- If the dates are very hard, soak them in boiling water for 3 minutes; drain.
- Add the dates and walnuts to a food processor; pulse a few times and then continue processing until it first turns into a crumbly mix and then starts to stick together like a ball of dough. Pulse in the pumpkin puree, flaxseed meal, maple syrup, coconut oil, pumpkin pie spice mix, vanilla, and salt. Add the oats and process until it comes together as dough.
- Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared dish (it will be sticky; an oiled thin metal spatula will help). Bake until the bars are set, about 30 minutes. Cool completely before glazing.
- For the glaze, melt the cacao butter in the microwave or a double boiler. Whisk in all remaining ingredients until well-combined. Put it in the freezer briefly (about 5 to 10 minutes) until it thickens to a glaze-like consistency, taking it out to whisk it every couple minutes. Once the cacao butter starts to cool, you’ll notice that it’s easier to emulsify the ingredients.
- Once the glaze is cooled and thickened slightly, pour it on top of the cooled bars; let the glaze set before slicing the bars.
- Store covered at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Disclosure: I’m thrilled to partner with Better Oats to bring you delicious oat recipes. I received the Better Oats product that I used in this recipe for free, and I also received compensation for this post. I am happy for the opportunity to share brands that I believe in with my readers, and I hope you enjoy my recipe. As always, opinions stated are my own.