Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Full of pumpkin and fall spices, these chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars are an easy one bowl, mix-by-hand treat perfect for bakers of all ages.

a stack of pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars next to a measuring cup filled with pumpkin puree

That’s right — it’s this time of year again.  It just isn’t fall on a dessert-based food blog if there isn’t at least one new pumpkin based recipe, is it?  (No, no it is not.)

And this year, instead of pies or cakes, we’re going with cookie bars.  Pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars, to be exact.

Baking with pumpkin is sometimes a little tricky, because it makes everything super duper moist.  This is GREAT for cakes, where we always welcome and appreciate extra moisture.  But in cookies?  Well, in previous years, my attempts at making pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars came out a little too much like pumpkin chocolate chip cake bars.

This year, however, we finally got things right!

Enough pumpkin that these taste pumpkin-y.  (The trick is really more in the spices.)

Not so much pumpkin that they take on the consistency of a coffee cake.

Just right for fall!

overhead view of pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars cut into squares and scattered on a marble countertop surrounding a measuring cup filled with pumpkin puree

How to Make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I am, admittedly, not the biggest fan of baking cookies.  It just takes so much time.  Chilling the dough for a few hours. Scooping each individual cookie.  Pulling tray after tray in and out of the oven.

I am, however, a huge fan of cookie bars, because there’s no need for any of the time consuming steps.

No chilling the dough.  No scooping individual cookies.  One pan, in the oven all at once.

And because these cookies use melted butter, even making the dough is super easy — everything is mixed by hand in one bowl.  No need to pull out your mixer to cream the butter!

Using melted butter isn’t just easier — it also helps make sure our pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars will stay chewy and not cakey.  Why?  It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

Melted butter mixes more throughly with flour, hydrating all the strands of gluten better.  More gluten development makes for chewier cookies.

Normally we don’t use melted butter for cookies because these cookies will spread way too much when we bake them (unless you chill the dough overnight before baking), but in cookie bars — it doesn’t matter!)

All you need to make these is a large mixing bowl, a whisk, and a wooden or large silicone spoon.  Whisk together the liquid ingredients.  Stir in the dry ingredients.  Add in some chocolate chips.  Spread into a baking dish.  Press some extra chocolate chips on top.  Bake.

That’s it.  Done.

See?  Easy enough, it’s the perfect baking project for tiny kitchen helpers, should you have any of those in your household.

two paneled photo showing a mixing bowl filled with pumpkin puree, melted butter, brown sugar, and a whisk and a second photo with ingredients and a blue spoon with the dough to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars

Baking Cookie Bars 

Usually when I bake cookies, I use a silicone baking sheet.  It’s reusable (hooray, less waste!) and does a great job of releasing cookies.

For cookie bars, however, I prefer to line the pan with aluminum foil.  Be sure to leave an overhang over all sides of the pan.

When the cookie bars are done baking and cooled, you can lift the bars fully out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board in one piece.  Easy!

This recipe is written to bake in a 9×13-inch pan, but it can easily be halved and baked in an 8×8-inch pan.  Just adjust the baking time a little — instead of baking for 40 minutes, bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

raw pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bar batter pressed into a foil lined 9x13 inch pan dotted with extra chocolate chips on top

How to Store Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Because of the higher moisture content in these bars (thanks, pumpkin!), these tend to get more moist as time goes on, rather than dry out.

Most of the time, we put baked goods in an airtight container to seal moisture in.  Usually, air is our enemy – it makes cookies and cakes turn stale.

In this case, sealing these cookie bars in an airtight container will actually make the texture turn a little more cake-like over time.

If you like your pumpkin bars on the cakey side, awesome!  If you don’t, either cool to room temperature and enjoy the day of, or store sitting uncovered overnight on the counter.  Don’t leave in a sealed container to trap in the excess moisture.

After a day or two, they will start to dry out and can be stored in an airtight container.

These pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars can also be made ahead of time and frozen for up to three months.  Thaw at room temperature and leave on the counter, unsealed, to not trap excess moisture.

pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars removed from the pan with four bars cut from the rest of the baked sheet

Tips and Tricks for The Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  1. Use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling! Pumpkin will be the only ingredient listed for pumpkin puree.
  2. If you don’t have nutmeg, allspice, and ground ginger, substitute the listed cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger for 1 teaspoon cinnamon + 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Press extra chocolate chips on top of the batter before baking for cookie bars that look extra chocolate chippy!
  4. For cakey cookie bars, store in an airtight container.  For chewier cookie bars, leave unsealed at room temperature for the first 2-3 days before transferring to a sealed, airtight container.
  5. Don’t need this many pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars?  Freeze extras, or bake a half batch – all ingredients can be halved and baked in an 8×8-inch pan.

two pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars stacked on top of each other with one bite removed from the bar on top

More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Yield: Serves 20
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Full of pumpkin and fall spices, these chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars are an easy one bowl, mix-by-hand treat perfect for bakers of all ages.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with alumin foil, leaving an overhang on all sides to lift the cookie bars out of the pan after baking.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until no lumps remain. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla extract.
    3. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate chips. The dough will be soft and thick.
    4. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, pressing into the corners with the back of spoon or clean fingertips. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the top of the dough.
    5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cookie bars comes out clean. Allow the bars to cool in the pan for at least an hour or until fully cooled before removing from the pan using the overhang from the aluminum foil. Cut into 20 bars.

Notes

  1. To bake a smaller batch, halve all ingredients and bake in an 8x8-inch pan for 30-35 minutes.
  2. Pumpkin pie spice can replace the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. Use 1 teaspoon cinnamon + 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
  3. For cakey cookie bars, store in an airtight container once cool. For chewier cookie bars, leave for 1-2 days uncovered at room temperature.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 288 Total Fat: 13.5g Carbohydrates: 39g Protein: 2.8g
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars: These easy, one bowl, mix-by-hand chewy cookie bars are perfect for fall and so easy, even the littlest of bakers can help make them! #bunsenburnerbakery #pumpkin #cookiebars #chocolatechip #pumpkinchocolate