Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars (Grain Free, Nut Free)

The return of Fall means colorful leaves and cooler air, hot apple cider and wrapping yourself in flannel sheets, big comfy sweaters, spicy cinnamon candles… and as of September 1st, the famous (or infamous?) Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is back on menus across the country. I've never actually had a pumpkin spice latte, I'm guessing most if not all contain gluten. I'd much rather eat something pumpkin spice flavored then drink it, but that's just me!

Anyways on to today's recipe. I wanted to make a fall themed grain free granola bar that had warm spices, pumpkin, dried cranberries and just tasted like fall... if fall had a taste.. you catch my drift. The chewy dates paired with the crunchy coconut chips and seeds make these the perfect granola bar!

 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars (Grain Free, AIP, Nut Free)

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup coconut chips
4 tbsp sunflower seeds
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1/2 cup dates
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp pumpkin seed butter
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/4 tsp of each cinnamon, ground cloves and ground ginger

* If you want to make these traditional granola bars with gluten free oats just sub the coconut chips for gf oats)

Directions
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds to a baking sheet and roast in oven for 10 min
3. Mean while soak your dates in a bowl of warm/hot water for 10 min
4. After 10 min drain dates and add them to a food processor, pulse until smooth
4. In a medium sauce pan heat honey and pumpkin seed butter over med/low heat.
5. Add dates to the sauce pan followed by the rest of the dry ingredients, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut chips, dried cranberries, shredded coconut and spices,
6. Turn off heat and stir to combine.
7. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8x8-inch baking dish or other small pan lined with parchment paper so they lift out easily.
8. Press down firmly until uniformly flattened - I use something flat, like a drinking glass, to press down and really pack the bars, which helps them hold together better.
9. Cover with parchment and let firm up in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes.
10. Remove bars from pan and chop into 12 even bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days.