Saturday, October 1, 2016


I need to be stopped. We're literally one day into October, and I've already crammed as much pumpkin-related food into our pantry as humanly possible. It's not just a pumpkin spice thing. I refuse to consider myself basic just because I love pumpkin flavor in general. I own no Uggs. I do not wear leggings as pants. Not once in my life have I uttered the phrase, "I can't even." I just happen to share one commonality with the aforementioned, usually bleach blonde, vest-wearing basic white girls: pumpkin is life. Fall has always been my favorite season, and I'm practically crawling the walls that all my Halloween decorations are in storage down in Florida while we're here in Albuquerque. I thought I could manage to go one year without decorating, but if I don't get to a Halloween store fast, the bloody decorations around my house will be real because my head is going to explode. Since I can't decorate yet, you better believe I've been eating my weight in pumpkin food instead...hence this week's blog. I figured it would be highly appropriate for me to share my latest creation with you, on this, the first day of October. Such a grand month deserves a grand dessert: the cinnamon chip pumpkin cookie bar.

A mouthful to both say and eat.

This glorious creation actually came about as a botched experiment. Like the best mad scientists, I do suffer the occasional pitfall. But instead of my creations becoming feverishly psychopathic monsters, they just turn into alternative forms of dessert. Sugar is still sugar, after all. I was attempting to make actual cookies out of these, but cookies without butter. In my insane quest to make healthy dessert, I opted for applesauce over butter. I figured if I could make brownies out of only bananas, cocoa powder, and peanut butter, I could do anything. Hubris looks about as good on me as Uggs, so when my cookies refused to let go (literally, they were too sticky to roll even with Pam-coated hands), I decided cookie bars are just as good and somehow more appropriate for fall. Possibly for dunking into warmed cider. I don't know. This was my train of thought, and it's not always last stop at Logic Express.
Lots of wonderful things happening here.
So yes, the ingredient list is a bit on the longer side here, but I can promise you, totally worth it. I nearly wept because my house smelled so perfectly like fall while these were in the oven. Few things move me to tears: a movie where the dog dies, finding a pair of PERFECT shoes but they don't have my size, or not being able to access Blue Bell ice cream..that's literally about it. Trust me when I say these cookie bars can make even the biggest grudge holder against pumpkin (like my husband) crumble under the amazing taste. I found and adapted this recipe to make it healthier. Gather up:
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour (you can try whole wheat to make even healthier)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup of applesauce (I used cinnamon for an added boost of fall flavor, I say unironically)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup Libby's canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg at room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extra
  • 1 cup Hershey's cinnamon baking chips*
  • A small bowl of cinnamon and sugar mixed together
*Cinnamon chips are like a white whale...they only exist in the places you refuse to go. Namely, Walmart. Since our closest Walmart is literally one of the most dangerous Walmart's in the entire country (step it up, Detroit), I opted to order my cinnamon chips from Amazon.
I also contemplated ordering another stand month til I'm reunited with my own.

Grease a 9x13 or 8x11 pan and preheat your oven to 350. In one bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In your stand mixer bowl, dump the applesauce and both sugars. Blend for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extra and blend well. After this, dump half the dry mix into the wet and blend well. Add in the rest of the dry mix, and stir until just incorporated. By hand, fold in the cinnamon chips.
Dump your cookie batter into the prepared pan and smooth out.
Finally, sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mix on top.
Bake in the oven for 32-35 minutes or until set but the top springs back to the touch. I tried to do the toothpick test here and kept freaking out because it seemed like it wasn't cooking in the middle...only to realize I had been piercing through melted cinnamon chips. Check me out basic white girls, I'm a natural blonde!! Let cool on a rack completely...I placed my bars into the fridge to set for 2 hours.
It wasn't an easy decision, but I wanted to eat them after dinner and not at midnight.
While the wait was long and arduous, the smell in my house remained something I will be proud of until the day I die. I ended up slicing these into 16 bars. Each bar clocks in at 180 calories. You could use larger or even smaller slice to adjust the calorie content. But 16 bars are plenty, and this way, we get to warm them in the microwave and top them with vanilla froyo because it's still a little hot out, but dammit, cold desserts are timeless in my book.
Not pictured: all the froyo.
These cinnamon chip pumpkin cookie bars are one of my favorite new inventions. Will I make them again? Probably in November. And again in December before winter solstice. The outside crisps nicely like a cookie should, but cooking them in a pan allows the insides to literally reach new heights and become a fluffy cloud of fall delight. Poetic imagery aside, they are so damn good. The pumpkin flavor is not overwhelming, and the cinnamon chips are totally worth how ridiculously hard they are to find without potentially being stabbed. I'm hoarding away the few chips that remain in the bag like some sort of rare delicacy. No shame. Blended together and baked to perfection, you can't even tell butter wasn't a part of the equation. Way to go applesauce, you're so much more useful than just filler in a 5th graders lunch! I plan to come at you guys with a few more desserts this month to celebrate fall, and of course, Halloween. I've really gotta think hard to outdo myself from the past couple years of baking, but thank goodness I have these cookie bars to keep me going. ‘Til next time, my fellow eaters!
Know that my heart will go on. Thanks, pumpkin.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave me some love, some advice, tell me the meaning of life...whatever you fancy! You don't have to have a Blogger account, you can leave a comment by clicking "Anonymous" in the "Comment As" box..but if you're not a troll, leave me your name after your comment so I know who said what!