These chewy layer bars are the seasonal cousin to traditional magic layer bars. Fall ingredients such as ginger snap cookies, pumpkin puree, warm spices and maple syrup make this a wonderful snack or dessert for this time of year. And while still definitely a treat, tweaks such as omitting the sweetened condensed milk and using unsweetened coconut flakes make these just a bit less decadent than standard recipes. Oats give the bars a nice chewy texture, and peanuts add a little crunch. Coconut flakes and chocolate chips are the finishing touches on top.
- 25 ginger snap cookies (Sweetzels used here), crushed
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 14-oz. can of pumpkin puree (Libby's used here)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (Quaker used here)
- 1/2 cup peanuts, crushed
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips (Nestle Toll House semi-sweet used here)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9” x 13” pan with aluminum foil, leaving about 1” overhang.
- Using a food processor, crush the gingersnap cookies until they are coarse crumbs.
- Add the butter and mix to combine.
- Press the cookie butter mixture into the bottom the pan.
- Using the same food processor, mix the pumpkin, vanilla, egg, spices, sugar and syrup.
- Add the oats and pulse just a few times so that the oats don’t completely break down.
- Spread the pumpkin mixture over the gingersnap crust.
- Crush the peanuts in the food processor and spread over the pumpkin mixture.
- Sprinkle coconut over the peanuts.
- Scatter the chocolate chips over the top.
- Bake for approximately 25 minutes, keeping an eye on the coconut. If the coconut starts to burn, remove from oven sooner.
- Bars will still be gooey when they come out of the oven. Allow to come to room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill and firm before cutting.
- Keep pumpkin bars in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Shopping tip: If you live in the Bensalem, Pennsylvania area, Giant on Street Road sells chocolate chips and peanuts in the bulk aisle. This can be a great way to save money since you’re able to buy exactly the amount you want for a recipe.
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