Since I was here last, it seems a whole autumn has unfolded. In my last post, I complained about the dreariness, which was a drag, I suppose, but then so is complaining. I’m happy to report that in the weeks that have elapsed, I’ve learned to appreciate fall in Seattle. The problem, I think, is that I was expecting the Midwestern version of the season, with its lingering warm temperatures and golden sun and clear blue skies and bursts of flame-hued colors.
To be sure, I still missed all of those things. But, at the same time, there is something to be said for the way the colors on the trees here in Seattle look against a thick grey sky. I came to that realization when I took a jog around Greenlake one recent Saturday morning, with fog hovering in a ring around the lake, and mist rising from the lake’s surface. As I rounded the lake, sprays of red and gold leaves continued to materialize through the fog. It was gorgeous—so moody and somehow cozy.
Of course, some things never change. You can take the fall out of the Midwest, but you can’t take the pumpkin out of the fall. Or something. So, as is my yearly habit, I’ve been tearing through cans of pumpkin puree. Most of the results are old favorites at this point, which I’ve already shared here. But I do have one new hit to add to the line-up.
Inspired by a family trip to the pumpkin patch, I made a batch of pumpkin-oat bars, which have a faint sweetness and are hearty with oats. They’re just wholesome enough to pass for breakfast, if you’re the type who doesn’t mind a chocolate chip or two with your morning coffee (or: if you are my type). And they make a fine mid-afternoon or after-dinner treat, too.
I’ll be making them again next fall. By then I’ll know just what to expect—and appreciate—from a Seattle autumn.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars
Yield: 16 squares
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
In another large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla extract, yogurt and oil, until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Slowly fold in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Gently fold in all but two tablespoons of the chopped chocolate.
Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chopped chocolate on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
Cool completely on 10 minutes on wire rack.