While scrolling down my facebook feed earlier this week, I noticed a post from my cousin Jamie that made me laugh as I waited for my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars to come out of the oven. She announced,
I’ve noticed a big backlash lately against pumpkin spice and I just wanted to make my position clear that I am a fan of pumpkin. My coffee is currently pumpkin. I like my home to smell like pumpkin. I enjoy pretty much any pumpkin baked good. If there was a pumpkin lotion or something I am betting I would buy it. And I’m just gonna throw this out there knowing there will be some strong reactions-I really like pumpkin beer. I also enjoy picking out, carving and displaying actual pumpkins. I am comfortable with my pumpkin choices and thought it was time I let my voice be heard. I stand with pumpkin spice.
If her status resonates deep in your pumpkin-loving soul, then stand in solidarity with me with a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar in each hand. You know why so many people go pumpkin crazy every fall? Because it’s delicious. It’s as simple as that, and you don’t need to be a “basic” girl to get it, as James and his dad demonstrated as they inhaled the treats I brought them. Really, who doesn’t love a soft, moist, cinnamon and nutmeg treat with chocolate chips studded throughout?
For these bars, I tweaked my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe ever, aptly named “The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies“. I realized that, in order to get real pumpkin in there, it can take the place of eggs in the recipe. Canned pure pumpkin provides enough moisture and binding that eggs become totally unnecessary.
However, it’s not just real pumpkin that we’re used to tasting when we eat so-called pumpkin desserts. A tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice gives it the familiar warmth and fragrance. There will be no weak pumpkin flavor in this house!
After chilling the dough, I press it with my hands into a parchment paper-lined baking pan. I try to get an even distribution of cookie dough, but it’s okay if there are indents and bumps on the top. Then I sprinkle more chocolate chips over the dough, so that they show through after the cookie dough rises and bakes, unlike the other chips that were folded in and are swallowed up into the bars.
I bake the dough until it just begins to turn golden and the top and edges harden slightly, but still give when pressed gently. As the cookie dough bars cool, they continue to bake through, until they’re perfect– soft and moist, but not undercooked.
Resist the urge to slice them before they cool, or they’ll be a bit too gooey.
I won’t judge if you eat the first row once they’ve cooled, though.
Really, no one needs to know that there were three or four more bars initially.
And if you choose not to eat them using a fork, and to just dive in hands-first, or even face-first, your secret is safe with me.
Make a batch of these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, eat a ton in the name of “taste testing” and then share the rest for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or just because you’re a lovely person who enjoys gracing the world with the best pumpkin desserts. And never, ever apologize for your unyielding love of all things pumpkin. In fact, when you make these, take a picture and show it off on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #hostthetoast so everyone can see that you, too, stand with pumpkin spice. (Or just that you’re a really good baker.)
- 2½ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips, plus more to top
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
- Make a well in the center and add in the melted butter, sugars, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. Mix until no clumps remain, and the dough is the consistency of traditional cookie dough, being careful not to over-mix. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Cover and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 x 9" baking pan lightly with nonstick spray and press a sheet of parchment paper on top. Spray the parchment paper lightly with nonstick spray.
- Press the cookie dough into an even layer in the pan over the parchment paper. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top and edges harden slightly and turn golden, but the center is still soft. Remove from the oven and let cool entirely in the pan, about 1 hour.
- Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and cut the cooked pumpkin cookie slab into bars.
- Serve, or store in an airtight container.
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