These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars may not actually contain pumpkin when made at my house. There’s a good chance they’re made with butternut, kabocha, hubbard or buttercup squash instead. But I think, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars sounds better than “Random Winter Squash Chocolate Chip Bars”!
In other words, these bars are perfect for using up leftover pureed squash you may have in the fridge. Of course, if you don’t have any leftover squash – canned pumpkin works great too. Look for 100% pumpkin puree instead of pumpkin pie filling – otherwise, you’ll want to reduce the amount of sugar and spice in the recipe below.
And in case you have a big ‘ol pumpkin that you want to turn into puree, check out this post on How to Make and Freeze Pumpkin Puree.
These are always a big hit at my house. They also got a big thumbs up from workshop attendees at a recent winter squash workshop. I love how easy they are to make and if you think a 9×13 pan of bars is too much at once, they’re easy to freeze too, which is always a bonus.
Without further ado…
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars Recipe
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 tsp pie spice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter room temp
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup pumpkin or squash puree drain any extra liquid
- 1 cup chocolate chip
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and lightly grease a 9x13" (23x13 cm) pan.
- In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, pie spice and salt.
- In separate bowl, beat butter until soft and fluffy. Add granulated and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add vanilla and pumpkin or squash puree. Mix well. The mix may look curdled which is totally fine.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Do not overmix. Batter will be thick.
- Scrape into prepared pan and level out.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Check for a golden brown all over, slightly darker at edges and a center that is firm but slightly springy to the touch. If center is still pale after 40 minutes, reduce heat by 25°F and keep baking.
- Cool on wire rack in pan before slicing and serving. Extras can be frozen.
Substituting Pumpkin Puree
In my workshops I like to give people an opportunity to taste different winter squash purees. While people do notice a difference in texture and sweetness, they’re always surprised at how interchangeable the different squashes really are.
Most pumpkin recipes for baking assume you will use canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling). Canned pumpkin puree typically comes from small pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins. These pumpkins produce a smooth, mild flavored puree. It’s not particularly sweet but it takes on the flavor of herbs and spices very well – making it great for pumpkin spiced anything!
Large field pumpkins, like those used for jack o lanterns, produce a very watery, non-sweet flavor puree. In order to use them for baking, it is best to drain the liquid from this puree. For more on this see my post on how to make pumpkin puree.
Puree made from butternut, kabocha, hubbard, banana or buttercup squash is nice and thick with a hint of sweetness. I love using these purees in place of pumpkin puree. While they do adopt spices just as well as pumpkin puree, these squash add a little more of their own flavor to the final product – and I think you’ll love it.
I find acorn squash to be a little more on the savory side. It’s not one that I would go to for baking sweet treats like these pumpkin chocolate chip bars. And of course, spaghetti squash is too stringy and wouldn’t work as a substitute for pumpkin puree.
That’s my take on some of the more common winter squash. Do you bake with various squash varieties? Do you have a preference?
A latte and a piece of pumpkin chocolate chip bars on a wet, rainy fall day. Sounds about right.
Other Pumpkin Recipes to Try
If you try this recipe, let me know how you enjoyed it and what type of squash or pumpkin you used. Oh and if you happen to be on instagram, tag me @getgettys so I can see it and like it!
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.