I know, I know... where are the promised alfajores, right? Patience, friends ;) They are coming -- pinky swear. But while there's still time to pumpkin, I thought I'd share these quick and easy chocolate chip & anise pumpkin oaties. I felt like I needed a bit of a break from the dulce de leche, since no lie it ended up on everything. So simple, light oat squares it was....
Ok, who am I kidding... these squares are amazing with the dulce de leche too ;) But they are also a great snackable on their own -- a cross between cake, muffins, and a blondie texture-wise, but bite size. Taste wise -- if I've learned anything from the pumpkin molasses muffins, it's that those two things are inseparable. Add chocolate to the mix and it's a party! But the real kicker here is the anise -- the magical ingredient nobody can ever put their finger on, but one that adds an amazing flavor to these little squares.
I feel like hidden in these humble squares is a flavor profile that accomplishes a lot in a little: gives you another way to enjoy any extra pumpkin this season, a way to use up that pumpkin spice, a way to add molasses and chocolate into your snacks / breakfast, and a way to marry your autumnal baking with your winter baking with that anise...
And as a bonus, these are super easy to make -- just process everything in a food processor and bake away. Cut and munch. They are kind of addictive, but quite light and wholesome -- no gluten, no refined sugar, no oil, eggs, or dairy, ...and there's a veggie snuck in there -- so you can munch away to your heart's content :)
...And they're "tiny-hands" approved -- sent some off to a friend who called to say her 6 year-old said "mom, can you tell Audrey she needs to bake more of these so we can go and buy them from her" :)
You can find pure anise extract at the baking section in grocery stores, especially around this time of year (or online). It's relatively inexpensive and will come in handy in your cookie baking this season ;)
P.S. If you can't do oats, you can try grinding down quinoa flakes or rice flakes, like I did in this recipe as an alternative.Print
Chocolate Chip Anise Pumpkin Oaties
A light, gluten-free pumpkin snack bar with a hint of chocolate and a texture that's a cross between cake, muffins, and a blondie. Dairy-free.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 12 - 14 squares
- Category: Bars
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Dessert
- 2 cups gluten-free quick oats
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ¾ cup agave (or maple syrup, brown rice syrup, yacon, etc.)
- 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses(unsulphured)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp pure anise extract (not anise oil)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate of your choice)
- 1-2 tablespoon more quick oats for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a loaf pan with some parchment paper and set aside (I used a 4.4" x 10" loaf pan, but any baking dish of a similar size will do)
- Process oats into a meal in a food processor. Add all remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips and sprinkling oats, and process to combine into a batter. Add chocolate chips and pulse a few times to mix them in. Transfer into the lined pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with oats on top.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 40 mins. Remove and cool on a rack. Once cool, cut into squares and enjoy!
This recipe contains affiliate links for pure anise extract , the loaf pan I used here, and unsulphured blackstrap molasses.
These are absolutely divine! I love anise and the subtle, barely detectable touch of it here absolutely makes the dark chocolate pop. The texture is insanely addictive, almost like a dense, chewy, sink-your-teeth-into-it fudge. I used a tiny loaf pan in order to cut thick chunks. These are total keepers and I’ll be making them time and time again! Please, more creations using anise extract!!
Hi Gigi, thanks so much for the lovely feedback. I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. I love the anise extract, and would love to create more recipes once I get my hands on some more of it :)
Here's a cookie recipe using some in the meantime: https://www.unconventionalbaker.com/speculaas-cookies-gluten-free-dairy-free-egg-free-refined-sugar-free/
P.S. another interesting extract you might enjoy playing around with is rosemary.
This sounds yummy! Is there an alternative you can use to substitute the anise extract? I think it is very hard to find and quite pricey where I live 😊
Hi Talia, you can just omit it -- can add a bit more cinnamon and vanilla instead. You'll lose the magical anise flavor, but they should still be good. You can also order the extract online for future if you wanted to give the fuller flavor in the recipe a try.
I loooove that its vegan and fat free/free of everything! any way to make it oat free? mulberries perhaps? :)
I haven't tried it without the oats, so not entirely sure. I'd try it with a gf all purpose flour mix. Not sure if you've seen, but there's an oat-free tab in the recipes section that you might like as well.
Hi Cel. I don't think mulberries will work as a good substitute for oats here as oats are absorbent and more dense. I do have different sections on my recipes page that you might find helpful though -- for example you can select "oil-free" + "oat-free", etc. to see what other options might suit your needs :)
This pumpkin cake is so cute! I just love it !
Thank you, Anne! ♥
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says
There is something about these squares that I find very endearing, just so cute and nibble-able :) The squareness reminds me of fudge, but the flavors remind me of muffins. And everything about that last sentence sounds delicious to me! I've never heard of an oatie, but I really love this concept <3 You are really making me want to try baking with anise now too!
I just made up the "oatie" :) That's probably why you've never heard of it! I couldn't think of a name to describe all those things you picked up on, so oaties it was ♥
Oh my! these look heavenly!
I'm always on the look for anise recipes, 'tho i only have the seeds (not star anise but green anise seeds), do you think it could work? They are pretty fragant but i don't know how concentrate is the extract, so...
So sorry I missed your comment. I'm not sure how the seeds will taste in this. Usually I cook whole star anise in a dish for example, but then discard it. I've never worked with the seeds alone. I think if you grind them finely, they will add some nice flavor here. But overall, I think the extract will blend into the recipe in a more balanced way.
GiGi Eats says
Anise in a brownie of sorts... Now THAT is interesting!
Trinity Bourne says
What a wonderful recipe. It sounds delectable. I'm very curious about anise now. The whole anise thing is new to me, something I've never really explored - I love discovering new things.
Thanks Trinity! I love Anise, but only when it's paired with the right things. Otherwise it can be very strong. A touch of the extract though and you get such a wonderful new flavor. Hope you get to play around with some!