[pinit] I used to have mixed feelings about baking with pumpkin. It was kind of bossy, insisting upon making everything it touched kind of, well, pillowy and wet. Pumpkin puree itself is not intensely, well, pumpkin-flavored, so it forced me to add more and more to get my fill of the flavor. Who’s the boss now, huh? Me. I’m the boss. How, you ask? Pumpkin butter, I say. We talked about how to make your own pumpkin butter here, and although you can buy it, I really recommend making it. It’s way, way cheaper, and then of course you can make it as sweet and as fragrant as you like (or don’t like). Either way, these gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip squares from my first book were begging to be rejiggered—with the butter.
The result? Even more pumpkin flavor, of course!
And since I went a wee bit overboard on making pumpkin butter, I see no reason not to just slather some on some toast. Add it to my yogurt. And enjoy some pumpkin granola.
But for now, let’s concentrate on the pumpkin squares. Like any good bar cookie, they come together in a snap. If you don’t cream the butter and sugar as directed, they’ll be a bit more dense but they’ll still be delicious. So … don’t sweat the steps here. Just mind the ingredients.
Oh, and since I know you like to know, my gluten free all purpose flour of choice was my Better Than Cup4Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (the third infographic in that link), but any of the basic blends in our arsenal would work just fine. Deep, deep pumpkin flavor in a soft, chewy bar with just the right amount of chocolate? Here’s how:
Prep time:Cook time:Yield:12 to 16 bars, depending upon size
*To make 2 teaspoons of your own pumpkin pie spice, combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + dash freshly ground nutmeg.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9-inch square baking pan (not glass) with crisscrossed sheets of unbleached parchment paper, making sure both ends of both sheets of parchment paper overhang the sides. Set the pan aside.
In a medium size bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. Reserve a tablespoon of the dry ingredients in a small bowl, place the chocolate chips in the bowl and toss to coat. Set the bowl of chips aside.
In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and pumpkin butter, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until combined. Add the chocolate chips with the reserved dry ingredients to the batter, and stir with a spatula or large spoon until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the batter. The batter will be thick, but relatively light.
Pour the batter in the prepared pan, and smooth with a wet spatula into an even layer. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the bars are golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs attached (about 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before lifting out the bars by the overhung pieces of parchment paper. Slice into squares with a large serrated knife and serve. Wrap leftovers tightly and freeze.
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