Pumpkin chocolate chip bars
Canned pumpkin. It is one of the most delightful add-ins to any baking recipe ever, and they do not have it in Australia. (Um, how am I am going to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving? I will literally have to make my own mashed pumpkin. Craziness.) So of course on my recent trip to the states I had to immediately make a pumpkin recipe. It’s also my mom’s favourite and it was her birthday, so I was so happy I got to fulfil a birthday request! In addition to being a great birthday gift or generous gift to your male teammates in Manila, nothing says fall like these super easy pumpkin chocolate chip bars. Chocolate and pumpkin (like chocolate and most things) is a winner combination. This makes quite a big batch of the bars so you could easily cut it in half and bake it in a square pan instead.
Pumpkin chocolate chip bars (adapted from Sugar Hero) – theoretically makes 24, although in this big pan I always cut them way smaller, so this would make about 36 Merri-sized bars.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) – I definitely used at least 1.5 cups because I was so excited about the pumpkin. This actually made the cooking time a lot longer so definitely don’t use quite that much
- 12 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Spray a 9×13 pan (aka large rectangle) with nonstick cooking spray, and set it aside. Cream the butter and sugar just like you are making cookies. Then add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined. Add a heaping cup of pumpkin puree. As I said earlier I got a bit carried away and probably added too much pumpkin, which made it difficult for the bars to cook completely in a reasonable amount of time, so definitely don’t go for more than 1.5 cups.
Then add the baking soda and all the spices (I always dump in a bit more cinnamon, and if you are lacking cloves or ginger or something, you can always substitute allspice or a bit more nutmeg or cinnamon). Finally add the flour and fold in gradually (add one cup at a time), and last add the chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Be patient as these bars are thick and can take a fairly long time to cook…if you take them out and end up cutting into them and realize they aren’t quite done, it’s fine to just put them back into the oven for another 10 minutes or so. I had to package mine fairly quickly for the long trip from the states back to Manila, so I also put the pan in the fridge to set so they wouldn’t fall apart when wrapped in multiple layers of foil and stuffed in a bag.
Transport of the bars back to Manila was successful, my mom and I enjoyed them thoroughly prior to that, and they made an excellent plane snack, so this was definitely a win on all fronts.