Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I know what you're thinking. Another pumpkin thing? But the holidays have passed! I mean, I know. I meant to post this much earlier, but things such as life and work and vacation kind of got in the way. Or I got lazy. You never know with me.

And maybe you didn't get enough pumpkin stuff over the holidays. It's still cold and wintry out, you can still enjoy yourself some winter-spiced stuff, such as these pumpkin pie bars. Or not. Whatever suits you.

I made these bars for a work dessert potluck of sorts. I only have one quibble with them, and that is this: the bottom crust part was really, really hard to cut up. I'm not sure if it's because I should have cut them up earlier on and not after leaving it in the fridge overnight or not. It's entirely possible that is the case! Nonetheless, they were still tasty, tasty treats. Maybe not if you don't like pecans, but I imagine you could totally take out the pecans and you'd still have a winner.

Pumpkin Pie Bars by freshfromthe.com

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Ingredients
  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 9 roasted pecan halves, for topping
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F with a rack in the center. Grease an 8x8 inch square pan with butter or shortening. Line with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt and oats. Add cold butter and quickly break the butter up into the dry ingredients. You can use a pastry cutter or use your hands to get the butter into sizes variously the size of peas to oat flakes. Add the chopped pecans and toss thoroughly to combine.
  3. Remove about 1 1/2 (to 2 cups) of the mixture to a separate bowl and place in the refrigerator (this will be the crumble topping).
  4. Put the remaining crust mixture into your prepared pan and, using your fingers, evenly press into the bottom of the pan. Place this in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
  5. For the filling, place the softened cream cheese into your electric mixer and beat at medium speed about a minute until smooth and pliable. You don't want chunky cream cheese here.
  6. Add in the pumpkin and sugar and beat on medium speed. You may need to stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combined well. Add in the egg and egg white and beat to combine, about 1 minute. Add in the spices, salt and vanilla and beat to combine again. The original recipe also calls for 1/8 tsp all spice, but I didn't have any. Feel free to add it in for an extra spiciness.
  7. Remove your crust and crust crumbs from the fridge. Pour the pumpkin filling over the pressed crust and then sprinkle generously with your remaining crumbs. Top that with your pecan halves. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center no longer gets jiggly when you move it. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing.
  8. These are best kept in the fridge since they have cream cheese in them, for up to four days.
Recipe via Joy the Baker

In photos:

Whoops. This picture is blurry. Sorry! It's just the dry ingredients about to get mixed up with some cold butter.

Once you've got your crust stuff, remove 1 1/2 to 2 cups to the fridge. The rest, press into your pan like so, then stick that in the fridge too.

The cream cheese, pumpkin and sugar mix together.

And then you add in your egg, egg white and spices.

Dump your pumpkin stuff on top of your prepared pan of pressed crumble, and then sprinkle the rest of that crumble on top.

Add your roasted pecans (I didn't roast mine, whoops!) for pretty decoration, and then bake that baby up.

Pumpkin Pie Bars by freshfromthe.com
Since the top does not really brown, you want to make sure the middle of the pan doesn't jiggle anymore before you take this out of the oven. Otherwise you will have a goopy middle section. No one wants a goopy middle section, in baked goods or in life.

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