Monday, April 27, 2015

Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Breakfast Bars

Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Bars

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know that each month I like to play along at the Secret Recipe Club.  The club has over a hundred members, divided into four groups, and each month one member is assigned (in secret) to another member from their group.  That person then selects a recipe (or more) to make, photograph, and prepare a blog post - all in secret.  Then everyone in the group posts their recipe on the same day, and of course the secret is then out.  It's a always a thrill to find out who has posted something from your own blog, and is a great way to meet and discover some new blogs.   If you are a food blogger and interested in joining the Secret Recipe Club, be sure to check out the Join SRC page.

This month I was assigned to  A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures, hosted by Christine, who says she has been in the kitchen since she could see over the counter-top.  Christine's cooking and baking took a healthy twist a few years back when she joined Weight Watchers and lost about 100 pounds - wow, just wow!  Christine loves to cook healthy, low-fat fare for her husband and dog, Missy, and she even appeared on Emeril Live with her Elegant Sweet Potato Skins.

Christine's blog has an easy to use recipe index (something I always like to see on a good blog), which made searching through the hundreds of recipes she has posted very easy, and there were plenty of great looking dishes that appealed to me.  I've bookmarked a few to try at a later date:  Roasted Mushroom & Goat Cheese Alfredo, Portobello Stroganoff, (clearly I have a thing for mushrooms and pasta), and Peanut Ginger Stir-Fry over Soba Noodles.  In the end though, I'm always looking for something for a quick and easy breakfast-on-the-run, and it was Christine's Cranberry Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies that were calling to me.

I'm ashamed to admit that breakfast, along with a cup of coffee, is often something that happens in the car on the way to work these day, so these were ticking all the right boxes for me - packed with enough wholesome goodness to see me through to lunchtime, and very portable.

I did make a couple of very small changes to the original recipe.  Firstly, the recipe calls for canned pumpkin puree.  This is something which is simply not available in my country, so I steamed up some fresh pumpkin and then mashed up the required amount.  Secondly the recipe uses egg substitute, but I just used a regular egg.  Also I didn't have all the spices that Christine used in her recipe, so I just swapped it out for mixed spice.  And lastly, because I am an inherently lazy person, instead of spending time forming the mixture into little balls to make cookies, I just pushed the whole lot into a slice tin and made them into bars.

These bars have great texture, with nice bits of crunch coming through from the toasted quinoa and sunflower seeds, and lovely bursts of flavour from the cranberries.  I don't have a particularly sweet tooth, but did feel I would have liked a little more sweetness, and next time around (yes there will definitely be a next time) I'm going to try adding a bit of honey or maple syrup.  This time around though I added a chocolate topping.  This added just that little something I was looking for, and let's face it who doesn't want to start the day with a little bit of chocolate!  This also enables you to pass off what is really a very healthy little snack as something slightly more indulgent - "put some chocolate on top of it and they'll never know they're eating something healthy" are words to live by!

Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Breakfast Bars Recipe
Adapted, just barely, from this recipe
from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures

For the bars:
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup apple sauce
2-1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 cups jumbo rolled oats
1/2 cup toasted quinoa
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the topping:
100g (3-1/2 oz) cacao butter, gently melted
30g (1 oz) cacao powder
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F), and lightly grease a 32cm x 18cm (13in x 7in) slice tin.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the bars.  Once everything is thoroughly combined, empty everything into the slice tin and press well, evening out the surface.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes (mine took about 18 minutes), until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and set tin on a wire rack.  Leave to cool completely.

Mix topping ingredients together well, pour over the top of the slice, and then set in the fridge until the topping has set.

Slice into bars and enjoy - on the run or at your leisure!

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did, and visit the links below to check out all the other great dishes my Secret Recipe Club friends made.


  1. Love these breakfast bars, a very wholesome and delicious treat!

    1. Thanks so much, Jasline, and thanks for stopping by. Hope you'll visit again soon.

  2. Chocolate for breakfast? I'm in! I love Christy's blog! Yay Group D!

  3. Oh my kids would love these! Pinning to try asap. Great pick!!! :)

  4. Oh yes, who could resist a breakfast bar that looks as tasty as these do! What a great SRC reveal day recipe, Karen

  5. These wouldn't last long in our house. They look nutritious and very tasty.

  6. These look delicious. I would eat them right up. Way to go with the fresh puree! Happy Reveal Day!

  7. I'm always looking for a good excuse to have chocolate for breakfast! I love the combination of chocolate, cranberry and pumpkin in these bars, they sound amazing!

  8. What a fantastic recipe!! So many good things crammed in there!

  9. These look great! Similar to kashi granola bars but better for you and I'm sure way cheaper

  10. I think these are a perfect breakfast bar....absolutely no shame in that.

  11. I also eat my breakfast in the car on the way to work more than I care to admit. This sounds like the perfect portable treat. Awesome pick this month :)

  12. They look fabulous! We always have muesli bars in the freezer so I'll make these next time. I'm too lazy to go with the cacao butter and powder so I'll just drizzle some melted 72% Whittakers on top.

  13. These look delicious. I love the flavor combo!

  14. I don't make this type of bar very often, which is silly, so much better than anything bought at the store!

    yours seem perfect to me!

  15. Happy Reveal Day~ Looks delicious! Lynn

  16. Wow, there is so much goodness packed into these bars! I love pumpkin and have been missing it since fall. These look great!

  17. these look wonderful!
    great pick this month

  18. Those look so so good. I love pumpkin and chocolate...and who am I kidding...cranberries and quinoa too. I am going to have to make some of these. I have such a hard time grabbing anything for breakfast and I need to eat since I'm not just feeding me, but Mason too! Happy belated reveal day!

  19. Haha! Balls vs Bars, who cares as long as it's delicious! :)

  20. I call these breakfast, lunch or dessert bars. They look GREAT! Wonderful pick this month!


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