Well, even after all that talk about breaking dessert tradition, my family still begged me to make our usual pumpkin fare this holiday season. We do live in the upper Midwest after all, so baking and bringing “bars” to a meal or party is somewhat expected. These pumpkin bars are a great dessert—easy to make, but tasty enough to hold their own with any fancy cake or tart they may share the table with. And while many people leave pumpkin behind once Thanksgiving has passed, I’ve found this little treat to be welcome all winter long.
I’ve seen a version of this recipe in almost every old cookbook I’ve come across, and this adaption is how I made it in several coffeehouses that I baked for. These bars were always a best-seller, regardless the time of year. Pumpkin, cream cheese, and cinnamon—who can say no?
Ingredients: Pumpkin Bars
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 4 eggs
- 1 can (15-ounce) pumpkin
- 1 cup canola oil
I found it is easiest to spread the frosting on the bars when they are chilled; I usually make them the night before and let them chill overnight in the fridge. They are also easier to cut if they are chilled. After frosting them I move them to the fridge for at least an hour. Dipping a knife in hot water in between cuts also helps keep the cuts clean.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a sheet pan. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and pumpkin. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix well, making sure there are no flour pockets. Using an offset spatula or a knife, spread the batter evenly into the prepared sheet pan. Bake until the bars are set and a toothpick comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. When bars are cool, spread with cream cheese frosting (recipe is below). Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon, if desired.
Ingredients: Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Cinnamon, for sprinkling (optional)
Beat cream cheese on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add butter and vanilla, beat until well combined. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat on high for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Enjoy your yummy pumpkin treats!