Favorite ingredient to bake with? NOT PUMPKIN. Definitely not pumpkin.
If you've ever baked anything containing pumpkin, chances are, I hope you know what I'm talking about. First, open up a can of the stuff and already it seems I'm sniffing someone else's barf. Those pumpkin candles on store shelves mirror not raw pumpkin itself, but rather the ready-to-bake pumpkin pie mix, probably. No way in heck would anyone ever make a root-vegetable-candle.
Second, who uses an entire can of pumpkin in one recipe? Find one on the internet. Go ahead. Try. So, you open a can (and plug your nose, I advise), bake with half of it, store the remaining half in the fridge and...
..and you'll probably forget it's there because you're too busy enjoying the pie or bread or chocolate chip cookie bars you baked with it. Then, you're cleaning out your fridge on Sunday afternoon and - BAM - a nice juicy moldy container of pumpkin puree. Am I the only one that has happened to?
Third (for those of you who have baked with it many times and have a general understanding of the need for fats in a delicious baked good, pumpkin is kind of like banana) it replaces some of the moisture - usually fat - in a recipe. This is fine, if we're talking about lowering the fat content of a particular recipe for nutrition purposes. This is not fine when we want buttery, chewy chocolate chip cookie bars. When adding pumpkin to a recipe, it's crucial to take into consideration other ingredients that contribute to the overall moisture - honey, butter, oil, eggs, milk, etc. In other words, pumpkin can't just be added right in to a recipe. When added, the proper ratio of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and wet ingredients needs to be adjusted to still yield a desirable texture and allow the pumpkin flavor to shine.
I really only bake with pumpkin because right now is the holiday season and people want pumpkin everything. Target has pumpkin Oreos?! Trader Joe's has pumpkin-flavored coffee in Keurig cups?! Hey, maybe I don't need to be giving you pumpkin-anything, after all. In fact, this will probably be my last pumpkin recipe of the season.
Enjoy it, my friends!
Makes 16 squares, or 12 bars
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. coconut oil, plus more for greasing
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Lily's Baking Chips)
- Preheat oven to 375F and grease an 8x8 baking pan with oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sea salt, and pumpkin pie spice and mix until combined. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, honey or maple syrup, egg, and coconut oil. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, careful not to over-mix.
- Press the dough into the baking pan and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and a toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool completely before cutting.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.