These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars are FUDGY just like brownies! You could also call them Pumpkin Blondies. They have the perfect balance of pumpkin flavor, cinnamon-y spices, and warm dark chocolate. They're made in a pot on the stove and are super fast and easy! The melted butter makes them so soft and fudgy.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper. I like to line with paper so that I can lift the bars out later for easy slicing.
In a medium saucepan, melt 1 cup of butter** over medium heat. I used salted butter, but unsalted works great too!
When the butter is still bubbly and hot, add in 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice* (see notes for other spices). Let the spices toast in the pan for just a few seconds, then remove the pan from heat.
Stir in 1 cup sugar and 1 cup packed brown sugar.
Add in 1 cup pumpkin puree from a can. Don't use pumpkin pie filling! (Use the other half of the can to make pumpkin cookies!)
Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
Add 1 egg and stir vigorously right away so that it doesn't curdle. If your butter/sugar mixture is still super hot, you might want to consider waiting a couple minutes to add the egg.
Add 2 cups flour, spooned and leveled, but don't stir yet. Add 1 teaspoon baking powder to the flour and use the teaspoon to stir it into the flour.
Stir in the flour until most of the lumps are gone, but do not over beat. Just like brownies, you want to get all the ingredients incorporated, but you don't want to mix it so much that you end up with tough pumpkin bars. See photos. Don't add the chocolate chips yet.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread to the edges.
Sprinkle 1 cup semisweet and 1 cup dark chocolate chips over the top. Use your spatula to gently fold them in so that they are incorporated into the batter. (If you mix the chocolate chips into the warm batter, they will melt right away)
Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter on it. The edges should be pulling slightly from the sides of the pan.
Let cool before lifting the paper from the pan and slicing. (or just dig in while they're hot, I'm no judge.)
Keep leftover bars stored on the counter, tightly sealed. They will keep for 2-3 days before getting dried out.
These bars freeze well! Store in a sealed ziplock and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the sealed bag on the counter.
*If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, use:
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice, optional
**You can brown your butter if you want! I like it both ways. Just keep cooking until it foams, then turns brown and tastes nutty. Your bars will be more brown and less orange in color, but it tastes great. Add 1 tablespoon water to the batter to make up for the lost liquid from browning.