These bars. Oh, these bars. They are the culmination of everything I need this fall to make my life complete. Hm, ok, let me rephrase, not everything (I’d take a house, 18 more hours in the day and a million dollars), but a good chunk, that’s for sure.
Basically what you have here is a denser, slightly more decadent form of the almighty pumpkin bar sans frosting but with a healthy dose of chocolate chips. If we are talking comparisons, these bars might also resemble a really fabulous pumpkin chocolate chip muffin in bar form with a bit less fluffiness. Or how about taking a classic blondie, ripping it apart, adding pumpkin and a whole slew of spices along with a complete texture change, and yep, you have these pumpkin blondies.
Yeah, so basically, these bars are an entity unto themselves. Deliciously pumpkin with hints of chocolate and with a perfect moist, thick texture.
Enough with descriptions. Just make them! Hopefully they’ll make your life complete, too.
Note: I adapted the original recipe so that I could sub out half the butter for applesauce. Yay for the cut in calories! By doing this, the bars become slightly more cakey than brownie-like so if you want the denser texture, use 2 sticks of butter and omit the applesauce instead. Also, if you don't have pumpkin pie spice on hand, I've included a DIY below the recipe (for this recipe, triple the DIY amounts to get the 1 tablespoon called for in the recipe).
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice*
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup pecans; roughly chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on each long side so the bars can be easily pulled out of the pan once they are done baking and cooling.
- In a medium 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, stirring just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans (if using).
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before lifting the bars out of the pan, cutting into squares and serving.
*For a homemade pumpkin pie spice mix use the following, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. Mix together for the equivalent of 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.