Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars are soft, moist, and loaded with pumpkin, chewy oats, warm spices, and rich chocolate chips for a perfect fall treat!
Happy November, everyone! Are y’all tired of pumpkin yet? Hopefully not, because I have one last pumpkin treat for you this season…and I think it was worth the wait!
This past weekend, we celebrated a special milestone birthday for my hubby. As is customary every year, I baked him a homemade pecan pie, since he prefers that over any type of cake that I could possibly concoct. His parents came over, we sang ‘Happy Birthday,’ and between the seven of us, we polished off about half of the pie.
I knew that I wanted to save the remainder for the birthday boy — after all, it is his favorite favorite — but that would mean fending off our offspring for the leftovers. So I decided to bake a slab of Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars as a means of keeping them distracted and allowing their Daddy to enjoy the rest of his pecan pie in peace. 😉
Now about these bar cookies…I actually developed this recipe back at the beginning of “pumpkin season.” And while it was a total hit with everyone who tried it, I wasn’t 100% satisfied with how it turned out. You see, I originally baked this recipe in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish, and I had a hard time getting the somewhat thick bars to cook evenly. If the edges were perfectly done, the middle was a bit too gooey. If the middle was perfectly done, the edges were overcooked. And hence, my dilemma…
So when I gave this recipe another go last weekend, I decided to adapt the ingredient amounts to fit a large, rimmed sheet pan, à la my all-time favorite brownie recipe. And whaddya’ know…it worked! The bars were still slightly gooey coming out of the oven, but as they cooled, they transformed into perfectly soft, moist bars peppered with chewy oats and decadent chocolate chips. The pleasant pumpkin flavor came without being overwhelming. And while the cookies bordering the edges of the pan were slightly firmer than those in the center, the entire batch was much more evenly cooked than my earlier cake pan attempt.
But for the real test…were these Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars good enough to distract my kids from recalling the existence of their Daddy’s hard-earned (turning a year older takes work) pecan pie? In one word, YES. They were so zoned in on their pumpkin goodness they didn’t even notice that someone else at the table had a different treat on his dessert plate.
And, as further evidence, the 8-year-old then asked me if they could have pumpkin oatmeal bars for breakfast tomorrow. Because, OATS. He even tried to defend his argument by listing off all of the other oat-y breakfast goodies that I regularly make for them. While he claims he wants to be a host on College GameDay when he grows up (“I’m going to take Lee Corso’s place one day and pick which head to wear every week”), I’m pretty sure he’d make a formidable attorney.
Happy birthday, hubby. Enjoy your pecan pie. And if you’re lucky, we’ll save you a Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bar for once it’s all gone. 😉
More yummy oatmeal recipes…