If you love my Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and my Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, then I think you will love these Pecan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars. It's all about texture! They are extra chewy and gooey and the edge pieces are caramelized and crisp. They have rich flavor from brown butter and brown sugar with loads of dark chocolate and toasted pecans on top. There's also a hint of pumpkin spice, so it's almost like chocolate pumpkin pie in chewy cookie bar form. They are absolutely delicious! For those who enjoy baking with pumpkin, my recipe for the BEST Chewy Pumpkin Cookies is one of the most popular on this site, especially during the Fall.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Brown butter cookie bars - the addition of brown butter really makes these pumpkin cookie bars stand out with that rich and nutty flavor. If you've never made brown butter before, it's easy! Just check out the simple instructions below.
- Chewy and gooey chocolate chip cookie bars - these cookies have the most decadent texture and they are not cakey at all like a lot of pumpkin recipes can be. The middle pieces are gooey and the edges are chewy and crisp.
- Pumpkin spice bars - a fragrant blend of cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice and nutmeg adds warm cozy flavor to these bars.
- Dark chocolate chips - I use 70% bittersweet chocolate chips for this recipe and it complements the spice and the pumpkin so nicely. It also ensures these bars aren't too sweet.
- Toasted pecans - the combination of toasted pecans with brown butter and chocolate is heaven! Make sure you don't leave them out of the recipe.
INGREDIENTS FOR PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS
Here are some notes about the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Brown butter - for this recipe you can use unsalted or salted butter. If you use salted butter, then reduce the added salt by half. You will also need to brown the butter which makes these bars taste incredibly rich! It has a rich, nutty, butterscotch flavor that really adds so much depth and complements the pecans, pumpkin and spices. Another important reason for browning the butter is to create the chewy texture. When you cook the butter, you remove water (butter is 15% water) to make up for the moisture that is in the pumpkin puree. Do not skip this step.
- Brown sugar - I highly recommend dark brown sugar for this recipe. The molasses in brown sugar gives these cookies a toffee-like flavor to complement the nuttiness and also gives them a chewy texture. Dark brown sugar has twice as much molasses compared to light brown sugar.
- Granulated sugar - this recipe uses both brown sugar and white granulated sugar. The white sugar will help create crisp caramelized edges.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla is important to carry the pungent spice flavors. I like this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- Canned pumpkin - canned pumpkin is easily accessible and inexpensive. You can also make it yourself, but it is important to reduce it down so it is very thick otherwise the moisture balance will be off in the recipe. I use ED Smith or Libby's brand.
- Pumpkin pie spice - use your favorite brand, or make your own from a blend of 1 part nutmeg, clove and allspice with 2 parts cinnamon and ginger.
- Dark chocolate chips - I highly recommend dark chocolate to balance the sweetness. You can use semi-sweet chocolate chips if that is all you have on hand. They will still taste great!
- Toasted pecans - to toast the pecans, simple place them in a dry frying pan over medium heat and shake the pan frequently until they darken in color and smell very fragrant. It will take about 10 minutes.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- STEP 1). Brown the butter. Place butter in a saucepan over medium heat until melted and then continue to cook while stirring occasionally until butter begins to bubble and crackle as the moisture boils off. Keep cooking with frequent stirring until it turns a deep golden color. A dense foam will form at the surface when it is nearly ready. Pour it into a large mixing bowl, then let it cool at room temperature for 15-20 minutes until it is not longer hot.
- STEP 2). Combine butter and sugar. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar to the cooled browned butter and whisk until combined. It will look a bit clumpy but it will come together with the egg yolk.
- STEP 3). Mix in egg and pumpkin. Add egg yolk and vanilla and mix until incorporated and creamy smooth. Mix in pumpkin puree.
- STEP 4). Add dry ingredients. Add the pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt and mix them in thoroughly. Add the flour and spice and fold it in until evenly incorporated.
- STEP 5). Add chocolate chips. Add the chocolate chips and fold them in evenly.
- STEP 6). Press in toasted pecans. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top, then press the toasted pecans over the surface around the chocolate chips.
- STEP 7). Bake. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan and use an offset spatula to spread it out evenly into the corners and along the sides. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top and press the toasted pecans on top. Bake until the edges are browned and the top is golden, but the center should still be slightly soft. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS
- Let the brown butter cool. If the brown butter is too hot when you add the rest of the ingredients, it will make the dough greasy and the ingredients will not incorporate as evenly.
- Blot the pumpkin puree 4 times to remove excess moisture. To do this, spread the pumpkin puree on a small plate. Then, fold a paper towel in half and press it gently over the surface. The paper will absorb moisture. Repeat this step 3 more times with dry paper towel.
- Measure the flour accurately to ensure you get the right texture. Too much flour will make the bars dry instead of moist and chewy.
- Toast the pecans for extra flavor. Toasting nuts really makes a difference in any recipe whether it's cooking or baking. Take the extra few minutes to do this and you will not regret it.
No, this recipe requires brown butter to ensure you get a nice chewy texture (not cakey texture). If you do not brown the butter, then the liquid:flour ratio will be off in the recipe and the bars will be cakey instead of chewy. Browning the butter drives off the water content to account for the added moisture coming from the pumpkin puree.
Yes! Salted butter will be fine. In this case I would suggest to use a level ¼ teaspoon of salt instead of a heaped ½ teaspoon.
Often times adding pumpkin to cookie recipes will make them soft and cakey due to the added moisture that it carries. This recipe is designed to make CHEWY cookies by eliminating the moisture in the butter and using a single egg yolk instead of the whole egg. Omitting the egg white removes about 30 of water from the recipe so it helps to keep the cookies dense even when the pumpkin is added. Blotting the pumpkin with paper also helps to remove excess moisture.
I use canned pumpkin puree for baking for two main reasons: 1). Consistency - if I buy the same brand all the time then I am guaranteed to have the same results. Homemade pumpkin puree will vary in moisture content depending on how long you cook it; and 2). Ease! - it's so much easier to use canned pumpkin and the quality is just as good.
These bars are best stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They stay nice and soft and chewy!
Yes, you can freeze these bars. First let them cool completely, then slice them into squares and place them in a resealable freezer bag. You can keep them frozen for up to 3 months, and if you want them to keep longer, wrap them individually in plastic wrap before placing in the freezer bag.
If you love cookies, check out these recipes!The BEST Chewy Pumpkin CookiesChewy Brown Butter Snickerdoodles CookiesBrown Butter M&M Cookies RecipeLemon Blueberry Cookies with White Chocolate ChunksCoffee Pecan Chocolate Chip CookiesDouble Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk CookiesHazelnut Double Chocolate Chunk CookiesTHE BEST Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – Bakery Style!
Baking with pumpkin...
Looking for more recipes with pumpkin? Try these:
Bars & Squares
Here are more easy bars & squares recipes to try:
Chewy Pecan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- ½ cup 113g unsalted butter
- ¾ cup 165g packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup 50g granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup 120ml pumpkin puree, blotted four times to remove excess moisture
- 1 ⅓ cups 190g all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅔ cup 113g dark chocolate chips, plus extra for topping
- ⅓ cup 65g mini dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup 65g pecan halves for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch square pan with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang along each side so you can lift the slab out of the pan easily after baking.
- First, brown the butter. Place butter in a saucepan over medium heat until melted and then continue to cook while stirring occasionally until butter begins to bubble and crackle as the moisture boils off. Keep cooking with frequent stirring until it turns a deep golden color. A dense foam will form at the surface when it is nearly ready. Pour it out into a clean bowl and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Make the cookie bar dough. Pour the cooled brown butter into a large mixing bowl. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg yolk and vanilla and whisk to blend. It will look like clumpy wet sand. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth and it comes together.
- Mix in pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. Then sprinkle in the flour and fold it in until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. The dough will be thick like a typical chocolate chip cookie dough.
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan and use an offset spatula to spread it out evenly into the corners and along the sides. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top and press the toasted pecans on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are browned and the top is golden, but the center should still be slightly soft. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.