Chef Kela Hunte – better known as Keii – joined Studio 512 to share a mouthful, and then some: her “Not Your Grandma’s Brown-Butter Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Bars!”

Chef Keii says, “This brown butter, pumpkin, oatmeal cookie with white chocolate drizzle is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a soft, chewy, fall-flavored cookie recipe. This recipe is adapted from my favorite pistachio, oatmeal, white chocolate cookies.”

1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter
2 cups (170g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
1 and ½ (209g) cup all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 and 1/2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice*
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup (228g) pumpkin puree (see note – not pumpkin pie filling and not the whole can)
1 and ½ cup of white chocolate morsels

• Begin with preheating your oven to 350°F (for convection ovens) or 375°F (for electric ovens) and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Step 1. Brown the butter:
• Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring.
• After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning– you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. Once browned, immediately remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
Step 2. Mix dry ingredients:
• Whisk the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, corn starch, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a medium bowl.
Step 3. Mix the wet ingredients:
• Pour the slightly cooled brown butter into a large bowl. Whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined.
• Whisk in the egg yolk and vanilla extract until combined, then whisk in the blotted pumpkin (see note about blotting).
Step 4. Marry the wet and dry ingredients:
• Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick and sticky.
• Do not over-mix. Stop mixing once all the ingredients have come together.
Baking Options:
• Bake into bars- Spread the cookie dough in your parchment lined cookie sheet pan, try to even out the dough to avoiding baking unevenly.
• Bake into drop cookies- Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough into balls (about 2 heaping Tbsp of dough each) and place 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Slightly flatten the balls out– as the cookies won’t spread much.
Bake for 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned and set on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet.

Pro tips for making ahead & freezing:
• Cookies can stay fresh covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
• You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
• Baked and unbaked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months.
• To bake frozen cookie dough add an extra minute to your baking time, no need to thaw.

Pumpkin Pie Spice help: “If you want to use individual spices, use 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice. Do not leave out the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon that is also called for in this recipe. With the pumpkin, squeeze as much of the moisture out of the pumpkin puree as you can before adding it to the cookie dough. Simply squeeze the puree with paper towels. This will help produce a less cakey cookie. Make sure to measure 1 cup AFTER the pumpkin has been squeezed/blotted.”

“This holiday season Keii Desserts has partnered with several local and international brands Paramount Theatres, Lake Austin Spa & Resort, eBay, Kalahari Indoor Waterpark & Resort, First United Bank, New Hope Realty group and Central Texas Table of Grace Emergency Children’s Shelter.

“I will be hosting delicious desserts buffets, in-person and live virtual creative baking events, holiday dinner parties and fund-raiser for local children in foster-care. I’m also doing Cookies with a Cause, where 20% of proceeds help victims of Hurricane Ian in my hometown of Fort Myers, Florida.”

If you’re interested in booking Chef Keii for demos, classes, catering and more, email her at