Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkin Chip Bars #creativecookieexchange

For as long as I can remember, my favourite holiday has been Halloween. While Christmas was fun (and gift-filled) and Easter had it's chocolate, Santa's visit demanded wearing fancy, "don't get anything on it" clothes and the Easter Bunny's calling card almost always detracted from my birthday party attendee list. Halloween, on the other hand, allowed for the wearing of (usually) comfortable, custom-made-by-mom costumes and more candy exposure than I got the rest of the year. Given that the holiday fell right after we polished off the last of the Thanksgiving turkey, it was the perfect pick-me-up in the Fall too.

Ironically, with all the pumpkin that abounds around Halloween and Thanksgiving, I never was the kind of person to crave squash-filled desserts. When served a sliver of Grandma's pumpkin pie (with the "just try it" look alongside), the crust disappeared way before the filling would, and the orange-tinted cookies and cupcakes on the bake sale table at school were simply ignored in favour of the chocolate Rice Krispie balls or Jell-O "Jiggler" shapes. As an adult, I've come to enjoy pumpkin's slightly sweet, rich flavour and texture in savoury dishes, and while I still don't like it's "pie" format I don't mind a stack of pancakes, the occasional muffin or nibbling a well spiced cookie laced with the vegetable.

So, given that the theme for the Creative Cookie Exchange this month is Halloween, and when I think of Hallowe'en the first things I recall are pumpkin picking (and carving) and the candy haul, what better treat to share than a candy-laced pumpkin bar? It's the perfect home for any end bits of chocolate and toffee left after the trick-or-treaters sate themselves, and with tofu, applesauce, wheat bran and wheat germ mixed into the batter, it's even slightly healthy too! Luckily, the recipe makes a nice big batch, because you'll want to freeze a bunch for lunches and snacks down the road. While I haven't done it myself, I hear tell that semi-frozen bars make delicious ice-cream-sandwich "bread" too!

Pumpkin Chip Bars

If you are a blogger and want to join in the #creativecookieexchange fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Pumpkin Chip Bars (with Homemade Toffee!)

Pumpkin Chip Bars
Makes one 15x10x1 pan, 30 squares
10 oz silken tofu, or 4 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup applesauce
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup wheat bran
¼ cup wheat germ
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¼ cup chocolate chips or candy coated chocolate
1 (1.5 oz) bar chocolate-covered toffee (i.e. Skor), chopped
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 15x10x1 pan.
  2. In a food processor, puree the tofu, sugar, oil, applesauce, vanilla and pumpkin.
  3. Pulse in the flour, bran, germ, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt to form a thick batter.
  4. Pulse in the chocolate chips, toffee and pumpkin seeds.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pan before slicing.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 128.3
Total Fat: 5.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.7 mg
Sodium: 87.1 mg
Total Carbs: 18.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.4 g
Protein: 2.2 g