Pumpkin cookie bars are a simple sweet treat that anyone can make!
These bars combine the classic ingredients for magic cookie bars with the flavours of pumpkin pie. Get all of that fall flavour - without the fuss!
I don't enjoy baking and I'm not great at it. How about you? Let me know in the comments below!
If you're the kind of person who enjoys a sweet treat but doesn't want to go through the hassle of a complicated recipe, then these pumpkin cookie bars with chocolate chips are for you.
This recipe is a riff on the classic magic cookie bars from Eagle Brand (sometimes called Hello Dolly bars). For those who aren't familiar, they are essentially a treat made with graham crackers, condensed milk, chocolate chips, nuts and coconut.
If you're looking for the kind of pumpkin bar that has a cake-like texture, this isn't it.
This is a sticky dense bar that's very sweet, with lots of interesting texture from the layers of ingredients.
I needed to put together a big batch of treats for a bake sale one day, and wanted something that would appeal to a lot of people, have seasonal flavours and sell well.
The original magic cookie bar is super popular, so I thought I'd make a pumpkin pie-inspired bar with pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice. The pecans help to round out the flavour of these pumpkin bars, too.
(If you like the idea of pumpkin and pecans together, try my pumpkin waffles with pecan syrup!)
It took me a few tries to decide how best to incorporate the extra ingredients, but eventually, I figured it out.
I stirred in some pumpkin pie filling into the condensed milk (which is my favourite part of any magic bar) and added just a touch of pumpkin spice to the graham cracker base.
After that, all I had to do was assemble the layers and bake off a few trays.
The results were delicious! These bars are less sweet than the original, which I like, and they aren't overpowered by the pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice.
🍫 Chocolate and Pumpkin?
I know that combination might sound odd, but trust me it's SO good. I'm all for the classic marshmallow + pumpkin combination, but chocolate + pumpkin is EXTRA yummy!
I pour chocolate syrup over my pumpkin pie crepes, and it just takes it to the next level, so I knew that flavour combination would be awesome here too.
If you'd rather not add the chocolate chips though, you could use butterscotch, caramel or toffee chips instead.
📏 What Size Baking Pan Should You Use?
I used a 9" x 13" baking pan for this recipe.
If you don't have one, you could use a different size. Just keep in mind that the size of the pan may affect the thickness of the bars, as well as the cooking time.
To find a suitable alternative to the 9" x 13" pan, check out this guide to alternative baking pan sizes by the King Arthur baking company.
🥣 Pumpkin Cookie Bar Ingredient Substitutions
- Pumpkin Pie Filling can be substituted with canned pumpkin puree. Just add some pumpkin spice to it to create a similar product. If you want to make pumpkin pie filling from scratch, you can learn how to make homemade pumpkin puree and then add your own spice blend.
- Pumpkin Spice blends are fairly easy to find these days, but if you'd rather not buy it you could just use cinnamon. Or, you can make your own pumpkin spice blend.
- If baking for someone with a nut allergy, you could substitute the pecans for pumpkin seeds. However, be sure to check the pumpkin seed packaging as many are processed in factories that also process nut products.
If you try making these pumpkin cookie bars, let me know how they turn out for you!
Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Chocolate Chips
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 300 millilitres sweetened condensed milk, (1 can of Eagle brand)
- ½ cup pumpkin pie filling
- 1 ⅓ cups pecans, chopped
- 1 ⅓ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 ⅓ cups flaked coconut, sweetened
- Preheat oven to 350ºF if using a metal baking pan, or 325ºF (160ºC) if using a glass dish.
- Line a 13 x 9" (3.5 L) baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough excess paper on the sides to use as handles.
- In a bowl, combine graham crumbs with pumpkin spice and butter. Stir until the mixture looks like wet sand.
- Press the mixture evenly onto the parchment-lined baking pan with a spatula.
- In another bowl, combine the condensed milk with the pumpkin pie filling. Then pour the mixture evenly over crumb crust. Tilt the pan to get an even coating.
- Randomly sprinkle pecans, chocolate chips and coconut over the condensed milk layer, then press the toppings down firmly with the flat side of a spatula.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Set the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool thoroughly.
- Use the parchment paper "handles" to lift the cookie out of the pan, and place it on a cutting board. Cut into bars and store loosely covered at room temperature.
Please read the blog post for detailed tips and explanations.
Nutrition Disclaimer: please note that the nutritional information for this recipe is only an estimate, and has been calculated using a plugin.
This recipe was originally published in on October 14, 2014. It has since been edited and republished.