Pumpkin Bars: A Nutritious Autumnal Treat

I like to make these pumpkin bars in the fall because they seem a bit more nutritious than normal cookies yet still taste delicious.  These soft pumpkin bars have just four tablespoons of butter and ¾ cups sugar–you’d need  two sticks of butter (16 TBS) and 1 ½ cups sugar for a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Plus, these contain a vegetable!  I’ve made them with different winter squashes and even carrots, with good results.

Pumpkin Bars

1 ¾ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger
4 TBS butter
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cups pumpkin puree (home-cooked or canned)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13″ pan.

Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer.   Add the eggs, beat in the applesauce and pumpkin until well-mixed.  Add the dry ingredients and combine well. 

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool and cut into squares.

To make this recipe relevant to the Green Baby Guide, I would like to note that if you puree your own pumpkin, little waste will be produced in the creation of this treat.  Also, babies will like them.


  1. This is the PERFECT solution to the granola bar dilemma. I hate buying them since they’re generally over-packaged and quite expensive–but I haven’t attempted homemade granola bars. This recipe is a great place to start!

  2. Yes, Joy, I have thought of making granola bars myself, but every recipe I’ve found seems to be loaded with sugar and oil. I figure I might as well stick with oatmeal cookies if they’re going to be bad for me anyway. If anyone has a great granola bar recipe, let us know!

  3. Do you know if the pumpkins they sell at the patches for fall are edible? I heard that some of them are only ornamental, how can you tell if the one your carving into is just for jack-o-lanterns or yummy goodies? I’ve been itching for some yummy pumpkin treats thanks for the recipe, if you have anymore please post them up!

  4. Jillian, I think all pumpkins are technically edible. Whether they taste good or not is another question. The pumpkins used to make pumpkin pies are usually smaller, called sugar pumpkins. There are probably a couple other varieties that are just as good, too. If I ever end up making it to a pumpkin patch, I’ll be sure to ask the people there if they recommend their pumpkins for cooking. Every time I’ve cooked down a pumpkin I’ve gotten enough puree to make about five pies (and a few batches of these bars)!

  5. Great idea–i just came across a can of pumpkin in my pantry–now I can put it to good use.

  6. These sound so yummy! I like anything with pumpkin in the fall!

  7. I just made up a batch of these substituting grated zucchini from our garden for the pumpkin. They were incredible! In fact, after our teenage neighbor gobbled one down, he immediately came over to copy down the recipe. Thanks Rebecca!

  8. Wow, Joy, I have never tried substituting summer squash for the pumpkin! Did you grate the zucchini or puree it? This is a very versatile recipe. I think once I didn’t have enough pumpkin, so I just added more applesauce to make up for it, and they turned out just as well.

  9. Tosca Reno’s “Clean Eating” cookbook has a fantastic recipe for protein bars, that I’m sure could be modified to be granola bars instead. I make them for my husband, and he loves them more than any other ones that I’ve bought. I can’t wait to try the recipe above– should be awesome!

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