Healthy Bites with TGMC | Let’s Give Them Pumpkin to Talk About! Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Many people associate pumpkins as a Halloween decoration or a delicious dessert during Thanksgiving, but behind the haunted smile of a Jack O’ Lantern and the delicious pie, lies one of the most nutritious vegetables.

Pumpkins are nutrient-dense; being high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Studies show these nutrients support your immune system, eye health, skin health, and heart health while lowering your risk of cancer. The high fiber content of pumpkin aids in digestive health as well as helping you feel full between meals. Due to their low number of calories, pumpkins are weight loss friendly too. Pumpkin seeds are also high in minerals, fiber, and protein. Pumpkin seeds also contain a substance that may help lower cholesterol. So the next time that you want to carve a pumpkin, don’t waste the inside. Eat it!

INGREDIENTS

• 1 c. all-purpose flour
• 1 c. whole-wheat flour
• 1 c. pecans, very finely chopped
• 3/4 c. granulated sugar
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 4 large eggs, beaten
• 1 15-ounce can 100-percent pure pumpkin
• 1/2 c. canola oil
• 1/4 c. low-fat milk
• 1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

STEP 1
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat a 15 x 10 x 1-inch rimmed baking or jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
STEP 2
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, pecans, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until combined.
STEP 3
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, oil and milk until blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
STEP 4
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before slicing into (30) 2 x 2 ½-inch bars.

For maximum freshness, store leftovers in a plastic container or zip-top bag in the refrigerator.

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