Pumpkin Spice Season is Calling: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

After being reminded that I should use my set of Heilala flavored vanilla extracts, the pumpkin spice vanilla seemed like it should be next on the list, because fall baking season was in full swing (this was back in late October). So I made Sabine Vernier's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars.

The recipe is quick and easy. You cream room temperature butter with brown sugar until fluffy; add an egg and vanilla, followed by pumpkin puree; mix in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, kosher salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves), and stir in  chocolate. I used a bag of Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips. I transferred the batter to a parchment-lined 9-inch by 13-inch pan to bake.
Erin Clarkson described these bars as "a tiny bit fudgy" on her blog when she shared the recipe, but I thought that these bars were basically just a very short pumpkin cake with chocolate chips. A tasty cake, to be sure -- but still, a soft pumpkin-spice cake without any hint of fudginess (hopefully I didn't overbake them). While I enjoyed the bars, I didn't find them particularly interesting and I couldn't help thinking that a cream cheese frosting would be a really good addition. I am glad I used milk chocolate in the recipe. I generally prefer dark chocolate, but I think that milk chocolate also has its time and place, and here the milk chocolate complemented the pumpkin and spices without competing with them. I can't say for sure how much the pumpkin spice vanilla added to the flavor of the end result -- but these bars will definitely hit the spot if you're looking for a pumpkin-spice fix.
Recipe: "Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars" from The Chocolate Addict's Baking Book by Sabine Vernier, recipe available here at Cloudy Kitchen.


I love your posts. Your analysis is always useful and your honesty refreshing as well as helpful. Thanks for this critique. I am not much of a plain cake bar person so I will not add this cookie to the holiday baking gift list.

Thanks, Anne! The reason I started this blog is so that I can remember what I've baked and how it turned out, so I am always up front about whether I liked something or not (but of course I don't expect everyone to share my taste or opinions). I love it when I'm reading a past blog entry and rediscover a recipe that I loved but have completely forgotten about!