Happy Monday, Friends. If you’ve been following me on Instagram @janine.whiteson, you’ve seen that I’ve been whipping up some super delicious Fall favorites for my family lately. A lot of you have seen the Instagram stories that I have shared from my kitchen and have immediately reached out for recipes. Well, ask and you shall receive because today I’m here to share the recipe for a decadent treat! My chocolate pumpkin bars are delicious, full of nutrition, totally in-season and will make your house officially smell like Fall (bonus!).
Today is all about Pumpkins. But first things first. If I must admit, I’m a huge fan of carving pumpkins, decorating with pumpkins, and I LOVE baking pumpkin seeds and eating them…Yum! But, when it comes to cooking pumpkin… that’s another story. Baking and cooking with fresh pumpkin can be daunting to say the least. It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of mess and to be honest I’m not the biggest fan of the flavor of pumpkin on its own. I really wish I was because eating pumpkin comes with lots of amazing health benefits. I made it my mission to come up with an easier way to cook with pumpkin and to create a recipe that even I would love! And that’s where my recipe for healthy, decadent Pumpkin Bars was born!
I’ve already mentioned that I am not a fan of cooking or baking with fresh pumpkin but do you know what is just as good and just as healthy as fresh pumpkin? Here’s a hint- it comes with zero mess and takes no time to use. Canned pumpkin! I love using canned pumpkin in my recipes but have something very important to note here. When purchasing canned pumpkin, make sure it is just simply “canned pumpkin,” not pumpkin pie filling, no added salts and sugar, no added preservatives, just pure canned pumpkin goodness. A good rule of thumb is to check for a label that reads, “100% pumpkin”. It literally tastes just like the fresh stuff and works like a charm.
Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about what makes pumpkin so good for you!
Both canned and fresh pumpkin are:
High in Fiber. One cup of pumpkin provides 30% of your daily recommended value.
High in Magnesium: Magnesium is very important because it plays a big part in the physiological functions of the brain, heart and muscles.
Rich in Zinc, Vitamin A, Lutein and Zeaxanthin which is hugely beneficial for your vision and overall health.
High in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that your body converts to Vitamin A which is amazing for your immune system, blood pressure and your heart.
Full of Vitamin C which is essential for making collagen, a protein that keeps your skin strong, healthy and youthful.
Full of anti-oxidants that have shown to neutralize free radicals (stopping them from damaging your cells), and help protect against sun damage, certain cancers and eye disease (macular degeneration).
Now that we know how healthy Autumn’s favorite flavor can be, I encourage you all to make my chocolate pumpkin bars for your friends and family. They are full of fiber, provide all the amazing health benefits listed above and taste decadent. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring, doesn’t have to taste bad, and doesn’t have to be expensive. Happy Fall, Friends! Stay well. Xx Janine
Janine’s Chocolate Pumpkin Bars
1 3/4 cups Spelt flour (white whole wheat works as well)
1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Spice (If you don’t have use cinnamon instead)
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 oz Butter – soften to room temperature
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
1 Can (15oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 Large egg
1 12oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips (save 1/4 of the chips for topping after it’s baked)
1: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 baking pan or slightly larger and set aside.
2: In a large bowl whisk together flour, pumpkin spice and baking powder.
3: In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar – electric hand mixer or stand mixer works well.
4: Beat in egg and vanilla.
5: Add pumpkin puree and mix well.
6: Fold in dry ingredients until mixed together well. Fold in chocolate chips – remember to save 1/4 of the package.
7: Spread batter evenly in the greased baking pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the edges begin to pull away from the sides.
8: As soon as the bars are taken out of the oven – sprinkle the remaining 1/4 bag of chocolate chips and spread them out all over the bars while they are still melting.
9: Let it cool for at least an hour, cut into squares then – dig in!