Pumpkin Bars: A Fall Rite of Passage

If you can feel a slight chill in the evening air and hear fallen leaves rustling and crunching under your feet, most likely you can also smell pumpkin bars baking in my oven.

To me, pumpkin is inherently an autumnal ingredient, but these could technically be enjoyed any time of year.  I think if I baked them during any other season I wouldn't appreciate them as much because seeing the farmer's markets and roadside produce stands deluged with pumpkins straight from the patch always triggers the memory of these bars.

This recipe was posted by a virtual friend on a recipe forum that I used to frequent and makes a half sheet pan, so there's more than enough to share with friends, family and coworkers or to take to a Halloween or Thanksgiving potluck.  I've doubled the ingredients for the icing because while I love cream cheese icing, I'm also absolutely horrible at icing a dessert and not getting crumbs all mixed in.  I usually spread half the icing without any worries about getting it all crummy, put the pan in the fridge for about 15 minutes so the cream cheese can set just a bit and then use the rest of the icing to make it all pretty.  These squares are really cute garnished with the little candy pumpkins that you see in the candy aisle this time of year. 

Pumpkin Bars
Recipe By: Chef Beck

Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
2               cups  sugar
1                cup  butter (2 sticks), room temp.
2               cups  canned pumpkin (one 15-oz. can)
4                     eggs, room temp.
2               cups  flour
2               tsp.  baking soda
1               tsp.  cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, ground cloves
1/2          tsp.  salt
6                oz.  cream cheese, room temp.
2              sticks  butter, room temp.
2               tsp.  vanilla
2               tsp.  orange zest (optional)
4               cups  powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 15 X 10 1/2 X 1 (half sheet) pan. Sift flour, baking soda, spices, and salt together; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Spread mixture into pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until cake springs back when touched or toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost.  For frosting, beat all ingredients together until smooth.


gina said...

Best. Pumpkin. Recipe. EVER. Seriously, these would be my choice for "one last meal." And doubling the cream cheese frosting? Must!


Wish Upon A Chef Template by Ipietoon Cute Blog Design