Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

fullsizeoutput_a8b9fullsizeoutput_a8bcIMG_9959If it isn’t already apparent, I am more than ready for Autumn’s arrival. In part, I think I am just yearning for the day where wearing a mask in the Dallas humidity doesn’t feel akin to being suffocated with a pillow. The Texas heat is no joke y’all. Bad weather aside, I look forward to Fall each year for the shift in the wind (both literally and figuratively). To me, there is no time of year more beautiful than Fall. To me, Fall symbolizes change, comfort, and gratitude. In this wildly unpredictable year that we have had, these are all very fitting topics to embrace this coming season. Embrace the change of the seasons, take comfort in the change, and have gratitude for new beginnings. It’s easier said than done, but I have been telling myself this as a reminder to find joy in what lies ahead in light of what has transpired the past few months in the midst of this pandemic.

Currently, I am finding joy in baking (as I have been since the pandemic began). Now, in anticipation of Fall, I have found myself craving pumpkin bread, pumpkin pizzelles, pumpkin oatmeal, and anything else you can attach the word “pumpkin” to, like crazy! And, because I just happened to have an unopened can of pumpkin pureé sitting in the pantry, I couldn’t resist the impulse to whip up these gluten-free pumpkin chocolate chip bars! The first go-around, I attempted to make these bars with coconut flour, but they just weren’t fluffy and thick the way I had hoped. However, this version uses 1-to-1 gluten-free flour, perfect for achieving the FLUFFIEST bars ever!

Tips for making these bars:

  1. Pumpkin Pie Spice: Rather than worry about the measurements for nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, etc., I keep a jar of pumpkin pie spice on hand and find that it makes life so much simpler. You can easily make your own pumpkin pie spice if you do a quick recipe search on Pinterest, but Simply Organic, Primal Palate, and Sprouts all make variations that you can find for around $10 or less.
  2. Gluten-Free Flour: When it comes to gluten-free flour, there is no agreed-upon “best choice”, however I highly recommend trying Cup4Cup flour, which you can find on Amazon and at Whole Foods. Of the 1-to-1 flours I have tried in the place of all-purpose flour, I feel that Cup4Cup is most similar to all-purpose flour in texture and is not grainy the way other gluten-free flours can tend to be.
  3. Baking Powder: Most dessert recipes usually call for baking soda, but it’s important to understand the distinction between baking soda and baking powder. While baking soda has 4x the leavening power of baking powder, baking soda only reacts with an acid like citrus, yogurt, cocoa powder, or cream of tartar. Therefore, in recipes – like this one – that do not have an acidic component, baking powder is a much more effective leavening agent because it already contains the acid (usually cream of tartar) in addition to sodium bicarbonate. I have tried this recipe with baking soda and baking powder, and these bars are immensely lighter and fluffier if you use baking powder.
  4. Storage: Sadly, I learned the hard way that some baked goods are truly not meant for the fridge. I love cold brownies and thought that these bars would taste even better cold, but was sadly mistaken and crestfallen to discover that putting these bars in the refrigerator completely dries them out! Instead, store these bars at room temperature in an air-tight container to keep them fresh and moist.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Yield: 9 bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and baking powder and whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut sugar, eggs, melted and cooled coconut oil, vanilla, and pumpkin puree.
  4. Incorporate the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until smooth and even in its consistency.
  5. Mix in the dark chocolate chips to the batter and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  6. Use an offset spatula to smooth the batter into an even layer and place it in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Once done baking, allow the bars to fully cool before cutting them into 9 equal bars.

Notes

Store in an air-tight container at room temperature; the bars will dry out if refrigerated.

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Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 8.2gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 84mgCarbohydrates: 30.1gFiber: 1.2gSugar: 11.8gProtein: 3.4g

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