You guys. It’s officially fall. Which means all things pumpkin and apple cider are starting to slowly make their appearance, along with the stunning and incomparably vibrant foliage. This is, undoubtedly, my favorite of the seasons; the brisk mornings and breezy afternoons, leaves crunching beneath my feet, big pots of soup for dinner and leftovers the next day. Fall is laid back and effortless, and I appreciate any season that encourages me to take it easy.
So since it’s finally fall, I figured I’d share one of my favorite (one-bowl) pumpkin recipes. But before we get to the recipe we need to talk pumpkin. Specifically pumpkin in its pureed form because the canned variety tends to get a bad rep for reasons I still don’t understand. Have you ever tried making your own pumpkin puree? I have. And even after the blending you tend to be left with a jar of pale orange mush that doesn’t look even remotely similar to the premade puree you can get in stores. Even worse? It doesn’t bake the same nor does it taste the same, making store-bought pumpkin puree superior in my book.
Stick to what’s easiest and embrace the (non-BPA-lined) can, folks.
If you aren’t a fan of pumpkin, feel free to use butternut squash or sweet potato puree. These bars are on the thin side, so if you’d prefer something a bit thicker use a 6-to-8-inch square baking pan (although baking time will vary). I prefer to add chocolate chips to my bars, but dried fruit and nuts are also delicious. One of my favorite combinations is to replace the chocolate chips with 1/4 cup chopped pecans and 2 tablespoons of finely chopped cranberries.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Makes 12 bars
- 6 tablespoons non-GMO canola oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. Whisk in the pumpkin pie spice, sea salt and baking soda.
- Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the flour just until combined, then add the chocolate chips and mix until they’re spread evenly throughout the dough.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and spread the mixture to cover the bottom of the pan. Dot with additional chocolate chips if desired.
- Bake at 350 F for 22 to 24 minutes, then allow the bars to cool in the pan. Once cool, slice into 12 small squares. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to three days.
Photo credit: Ashlae Warner