You guys, autumn has arrived!
Autumn is, after spring, my favourite season. But it wasn’t always like this, as in Mallorca where I grew up there’s only two seasons: summer and winter. The transitions are barely noticeable. We go from running around in swimming suits, to bundling up in coats and scarves and gloves. Enter Berlin, Germany. When I first moved here, it was the end of a miserably grey winter as I arrived after the excitement of snow had already melted away. Soon I was able to enjoy the literal blooming of spring, which is absolutely beautiful as you get this feeling the trees go from bare to lush and green overnight (I know, I know, that’s not really how it works!), and shortly after I was introduced to the summer which can be extremely unpredictable: hail, rainbows and over 30 degree temperatures can all happen within the same day. It was the first time I experienced rain on my birthday, which is at the end of July. And then came the wonder that is autumn with its explosion of colours, as the trees progressively blend from green to yellow, to red, to brown, and the sunsets offered a display of golden crimson mixed with light blue and cream colours, and I fell head over heels in love.
And then I noticed the difference when going grocery shopping: all sorts of fresh produce which I never saw in my country of origin were readily available. So that’s when the pumpkin obsession begun – for more on my extremely healthy obsession, check out my pumpkin recipes here -. Another story can be told about the fact that in Germany, shops are annoyingly ahead of time in a yearly cycle: Christmas is closely followed by Carnival and spring related items usually linked with gardening, then it’s time for Easter themes immediately substituted by everything summer, by August they’re already well stocked for Halloween and autumn, and 1st November kicks off the Christmas craze. Christmas markets begin usually on the last weekend of November already. And I promise you I’ve already seen Christmas cakes and cookies in some supermarkets (today is 26th September). It is virtually impossible to lose track of what time of the year it is!
I think there’s nothing that epitomizes autumn as well as pumpkin does. And because Berlin has almost literally jumped out of summer (last Friday it was 30°C) and into autumn (this morning it was a meagre 5°C as I left for work) I thought I would honour its arrival with a very well suited new recipe: pumpkin chocolate chip bars. And they’re vegan! If you don’t love them yet, you will after this. Jump right in!
- 400g flour
- 200g sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 175ml coconut oil
- 300g cooked pumpkin (cooled)
- 200g vegan chocolate chip cookies
- Preheat oven to 175ºC.
- In a bowl combine all dry ingredients. Then add the coconut oil and pumpkin purée and mix well.
- Add half of the chocolate chip cookies last and mix again.
- Line a square or rectangle baking tray with baking paper, pour the dough and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on top and press slightly.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, turn of oven and let sit for another 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing.
- Since I have made this recipe particularly for those of you who don’t eat any animal products at all, here’s the alternative in case you prefer: you just need to subtitute 175ml coconut oil for 225g butter.
- This recipe doesn’t call for eggs, as the cooked pumpkin brings in all the moisture you’ll need. However, if you like, you can add one egg and increase the cooking time to about 40 minutes.