Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bars

As we get closer and closer to Halloween, I see more and more pumpkins everywhere I go. It makes me yearn for carving a pumpkin and baking the seeds. Oh how I love to bake the seeds! I look forward to it every single year. One year I promise to find out how to store and/or harvest them year-round and will share.

Now even though I love the holidays and pumpkin seeds, I really do not like pumpkin pie. Despite that little factoid, my poor husband loves it. Unfortunately for him I don't ever cook it because of my dislike for it. I feel so bad for him but I do know that he gets his pumpkin pie cravings fulfilled at Thanksgiving dinner. And yes, I'm that weirdo that brings her own dessert so she doesn't have to suffer through the pumpkin pie. Well now that you know how much I hate pumpkin pie, this recipe I absolutely love! I am not exactly sure how but I do know that it wouldn't be complete without the butterscotch chips on top or the addition of pecans and oatmeal. I think that is why I can actually eat this dessert even though I can taste the pumpkin.

And on a side note, everyone seems to be having a pumpkin puree shortage in my area but every time I go to the store, they always have a ton of cans. So each year I stock up with 3 or 4 and then never use them. I have quite a few to use up so be ready for another week (at least) of pumpkin recipes. =)

Pumpkin Pie Bars
Adapted from: Annie's Eats, originally Kraft
Makes: 24 bars (fills one 9x13" pan)

For the crust & topping:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
12 Tbsp butter, cold and chopped
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Butterscotch chips, for topping

For the filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13-inch deep pan with foil. Lightly grease the foil.

In a large bowl, combine: flour, sugar and brown sugar. Toss with a fork and add the butter pieces. Blend with pastry blender. Stir in oats and pecans. Set 1 cup of this mixture aside. Add the rest of it to the foil pan and spread evenly and press to make firm. Bake uncovered for 15 mintues.

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix: cream cheese, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, spice, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until well combined. Once crust is done baking, pour filling mixture into pan on top of warm crust. Sprinkle with the 1 cup reserve crust mixture and sprinkle with butterscotch chips. Bake 25 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice, once cooled, and serve!

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