Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars




I wasn’t kidding when I said that pumpkin was my go-to ingredient in the Fall -- in the past week I’ve made three more recipes with pumpkin as the main ingredient, and still have a list of pumpkin recipes that gets longer every day: pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin scones, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin soup…I’ll be sure to post about a few of these in November, when it is still pumpkin season.

Today’s recipe is for pumpkin chocolate chip bars, an extremely quick and easy one bowl dessert that you can whip up in record time to get a quick pumpkin fix. If you’re looking for a fluffy piece of pumpkin cake, this is not your recipe (but this is). These are almost like pumpkin blondies, dense and chewy and full of pumpkin flavor, not to mention packed with chocolate. I’d seen the pumpkin/chocolate combination in quite a few recipes on different food blogs, but hadn’t been sold on it until I tried these – the semi-sweet chocolate complements the cinnamon and ginger nicely and adds another layer of flavor to this dessert. Enjoy everyone!

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS


Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 large egg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
2½  tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
¼  teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼  cups + 2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips since normal sized ones are hard to come by in Italian supermarkets)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8 inch pan. In a small pan over low heat (or in the microwave) melt the butter. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, cooled butter, egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and spices* until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir in to the pumpkin mixture using a wooden spoon until everything is just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips**. Pour the batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chocolate chips. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the bars comes out clean with a few crumbs attached. Makes 10-12 bars. Note that these taste even better the next day, when the flavors have had more time to develop.

*The quantities listed can be changed according to how much spice you want in your pumpkin bars -- feel free to add more or less spices as you see fit, tasting the batter as you go. I always end up adding a bit more spice than what is called for. You might want to add a little more salt too – I think I used about ¼ teaspoon.

**If you aren't convinced by the pumpkin chocolate combination, feel free to substitute toasted pecans or even raisins -- both would be good here! 










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