I know what you’re thinking. It’s March, not October. What’s with the pumpkin?
Well, I’d use Florida’s finnicky “cold” weather as an excuse, but I don’t think you northerners would appreciate that. 😉 The truth is I don’t really have a good answer for you, other than the fact that after a good month or two break from pumpkin, I’m usually ready for some more. I’m sure all you pumpkin lovers can relate. 😉
So, these bars. I started with a simple Betty Crocker cookie mix because, well, I had a cookie mix and sometimes the craziness of life demands a shortcut. You know what I mean?
Anyhow, the instructions for the cookie mix call for butter, but I was feeling like keeping the bars fairly healthy. Enter: canned pumpkin and unsweetened applesauce. If you’re trying to lighten up a baked good, both pumpkin and applesauce are great standbys. I actually have an awesome brownie recipe that uses both. I should share that soon! Anyway…
Since I was already embracing fall flavors of pumpkin and applesauce with these, I tossed in some cinnamon and nutmeg to amp up those warm and cozy flavors. I swear, anything involving nutmeg is instantly comforting. These bars are no exception.
And then I added chocolate chips. Dark chocolate chips, to be specific. The most delicious chips in all the land, in my opinion. 😉 But use what you have! And if you want, go ahead and add a big handful of walnuts too. Oh man, now I wish I had done that.
[print_this]Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
Soft baked pumpkin oatmeal bars with warm spices and dark chocolate chips. A cookie mix makes for a simple preparation, while canned pumpkin and unsweetened applesauce make these a low fat alternative to traditional cookie bars.
Makes about 16 bars
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 pouch Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).
In a lare mixing bowl, stir all the ingredients until combined. Spread into the prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean (treat them like brownies — a little ‘gooeyness’ is a good thing!). Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.[/print_this]