When I don't have time to form balls of dough and make cookies, I make cookie bars (or I bake frozen dough balls I've set aside for later). Cookie bars end up being a bit thicker and chewier than individual cookies - that's why I will call a serving of regular cookies two of them, while one bar is a serving when it comes to cookie bars. This batch was inspired by a can of pumpkin I panic-bought at one point over the pandemic when I guess everyone was worried pumpkin wouldn't be available. Never mind I have LOADS of pureed butternut squash in my freezer and it's actually what I prefer over canned pumpkin … I got got. So I wanted to use the stuff up and cookie bars were what I opted for.
You could use the aforementioned pureed butternut squash (and it would probably be even better) and swap out the chocolate chunks for chocolate chips, but I wouldn't play around too much with the recipe otherwise. This one is just enough sweetness, chewiness, and blends of flavors to make it perfect with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon or topped with lightly spiked whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream after dinner.
I do have this plot/plan/wish: when things warm up a bit and the covid case transmission rates are in a good place, I want to host a cookie/dessert party in my backyard for friends who haven't been able to gather - at least during the colder/omicron wave months. These bars might even be one of my offerings - made with butternut puree and chocolate chunks, of course!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with baking spray; set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and oats together in a large bowl; set aside.
Whisk the melted butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg yolk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix everything together until completely combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
Press the dough into the prepared baking pan, using a spatula to level the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with melted chocolate and/or crumbs instead of dough.
Remove the bars from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Slice into 24 servings.
- Yields: 24 servings
- Preparation Time: 1 hour