PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS
If you're like me and crave pumpkin year round then you must make these pumpkin chocolate chip bars. I am always sure to stock up on canned pumpkin just so I can make these bars even after Fall and pumpkin season has passed.
Super soft & moist, cake-like pumpkin bars studded with milk chocolate chips. And the best part is that this recipe uses an entire can of pure pumpkin so there will be no wondering what to do with the leftovers.
HOW TO MAKE SUPER MOIST CAKE-LIKE PUMPKIN BARS
Pumpkin Pie Spice + Cinnamon - Yes together these spices create magic. Not too spicy of a pumpkin flavor. They're perfection.
Baking Soda, Salt
Combine all the dry ingredients into a small bowl and stir with a whisk to break up any clumps. Stirring with a whisk acts as a sifter but without the special sifter and extra dirty dish 🙂
Butter - I always use salted butter for everything.
Applesauce - I have used both sweetened/regular and unsweetened applesauce and have found that there is not much difference in the final taste of the bars. So use what you have or whichever one you prefer. Either one works fine in the recipe.
Sugar & Brown Sugar - I always bake with light brown sugar but if you like the bolder more molasses flavor of dark brown sugar then feel free to use that.
Pure Pumpkin - Be sure that you do not buy the pumpkin pie filling. They are very similar cans but you want the 15 oz pure pumpkin.
Milk Chocolate Chips - Milk chocolate + pumpkin is a match made in heaven! If you prefer semi-sweet or dark then feel free to use those. Or use some of both. I have only ever used milk chocolate chips and will never make it any other way.
MY TIPS FOR THIS PUMPKIN BAR RECIPE
- Can I freeze pumpkin chocolate chip bars? I don't freeze a lot of food but I have actually frozen these and they are fabulous. Let it thaw at room temperature before you eat it or you can warm it in the microwave.
- Do I have to use milk chocolate chips? No you don't have to but after making this recipe dozens and dozens of times, I have found that milk chocolate chips taste the best. With that said, feel free to use a combination of milk chocolate + semi-sweet chips or whatever else you prefer. But if I were you I would stick with milk chocolate chips for sure!
- How do I store these pumpkin bars? The secret to these bars is that they get better and better as they sit at room temperature. To store the bars, leave them out at room temperature, covered, for 4-5 days. They get better, more moist, and the flavor deepens the longer they sit there.
My #1 tip is to make sure that you bake them long enough. Pumpkin bread type recipes (like these bars) will not cook more as they cool. If these bars are not cooked all the way then they will sink in the middle once you take the pan out of the oven. You will know that the bars are done when they look cooked (like they look dry not wet as in raw batter), like even the middle, and the bars are really puffy looking. To make sure, stick a toothpick in the middle and make sure it comes out dry or with moist crumbs on it.
TRY THESE OTHER PUMPKIN RECIPES
- pumpkin cheesecake whoopie pies
- no bake marshmallow pumpkin pie
- banana pumpkin chocolate chip bread
- bakery style pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
- pumpkin oreo cheesecake
- the best pumpkin recipes
- caramel pumpkin bundt cake
- pumpkin pancakes
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
- 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper leaving an overhang on each long side so the bars can be easily pulled out of the pan to cut. Or just spray the pan with cooking spray.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter, applesauce, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Don't worry if the mixture looks curdled - that's completely fine!
- Mix in the dry ingredients, beating just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.*I like to reserve some chocolate chips to sprinkle on top of the batter before baking. This is optional and just makes for a pretty presentation.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Top with reserved chocolate chips (if wanted) and bake for 30-40 minutes. *The edges will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and will be golden brown and the center will look "puffy" and done. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out with moist/dry crumbs.
- Let the bars cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan before lifting them out and cutting into squares. * Store leftovers covered at room temperature. These bars get better, and even more moist, the longer they sit out.