Fall is here and these Chewy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting are the PERFECT plant-based, gluten-free treat to celebrate halloween and have some festive fall fun in the kitchen! You no longer need to face the burden of choosing between Chocolate Chip Cookies and Pumpkin Bars – this recipe combines the two for an absolutely perfect match made in heaven. With this combo you have the fudgey, chewy, chocolatey goodness of a classic chocolate chip cookie blended with the spiced deliciousness of pumpkin bars for a delightful halloween treat. We all know no pumpkin bar would be complete without a creamy, sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting, and these bars have just that. Better yet, they’re naturally sweetened, 100% vegan and gluten free!
What makes these Chewy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookie Bars vegan?
To make this recipe totally plant-based, a few simple vegan substitutes are used. Along with vegan butter and vegan chocolate chips, I used my favorite dairy-free cream cheese from Treeline. This creamy cashew-based spread is a healthier alternative to traditional cream cheese. It has a mild, tangy flavor and a smooth and silky texture, which is perfect for making vegan cream cheese frosting.
How to make the best Chewy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars
Start by lining a large 12” x 18” metal baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spraying with oil. You could also use a slightly smaller metal baking sheet for thicker bars. Set your pan aside. To begin making the dough, add your wet ingredients to a bowl and mix well to combine. Beat for 1-2 minutes until silky smooth. Once your dry ingredients are added, mix on low speed until combined, being sure not to over-mix. Then, gently fold in chocolate chips.
Spread into your lined baking sheet and press into an even layer. After spreading, I like to perfect them by flattening with lightly oiled hands or the flat side of a metal spatula. Then, sprinkle with additional chocolate chips if desired and slide into your preheated 350 degree oven. Be prepared for your house to smell amazing. For the perfect texture you want to be sure to not over-bake these bars, you want them fudgey! 18-20 minutes should be perfect and you’ll know when they’re done if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
The texture and taste of this Treeline cream cheese frosting is to die for so you’ll definitely be licking the spatula! But, make sure to let the bars cool completely before topping with your freshly whipped-up frosting. Practice your very best self control (or don’t) and spread your chilled bars with an even layer of frosting. Place back into the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours before slicing.
How to Serve These Bars
These bars taste their very best when they’re served cold and actually taste even better after a couple days in the fridge. Because of this, feel free to make ahead of time and pull them out right before your halloween party starts. Enjoy!
If you like this cream cheese frosting, be sure to check out my other favorite vegan products from Treeline:
- Vegan Goat Cheese
- Chive and Onion Vegan Cream Cheese
- French Style Scallion Vegan Cheese Spread
- Vegan Pepper Jack Slices
- Aged Artisanal Vegan Variety Cheeses
- 18" x 12" rimmed metal baking sheet
- electric mixer
- rubber spatula
- aluminum foil
- metal spatula
- Mixing Bowl
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookie Bars
- 1/2 C coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 C vegan butter, melted
- 1/2 C cashew butter or almond butter
- 1 C coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 C pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 1/3 C pitted medjool dates, boiled for 5 minutes until soft or date paste or molasses
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 3 C gluten free all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 TBSP arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 C vegan dark chocolate chips
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 oz Treeline vegan cream cheese
- 4 oz vegan butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2-3 C powdered sugar adjust for desired sweetness
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 12” x 18” baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with a neutral oil.
- Add coconut oil, vegan butter, nut butter, sugar, pumpkin, dates, and vanilla to amixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat on high speed until well combined. 1-2minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.
- Add in remaining dry ingredients, except chocolate chips, and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Gently fold in chocolate chips using the mixer on low speed or with a rubber spatula.
- Pour dough onto baking sheet and use the spatula or lightly oiled hands to flatten into an even layer.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes. For doughy fudgey bars, do not over bake! Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- While bars are baking and cooling, prepare your frosting. Add vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla to a mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to beat on high speed until well combined. Add in powdered sugar 1 C at a time until desired sweetness is achieved.
- Once bars are completely cooled, use a rubber spatula to spread frosting in an even layer. Place back in fridge and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Keep these bars in the fridge for up to a week and serve cold. These bars are actually BEST after 48 hours in the fridge.