Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I know this recipe is a little past due since the Thanksgiving/pumpkin season was about a month ago but really, when it comes to sweet things, there really is no such thing as out of season. I would eat a yule log in June if it were placed in front of me. That said, if you like your desserts in season, copy, paste, print and save it for next year.

These bars can be a nice little change from the typical pumpkin and pecan pie combinations that usually make it on to the Thanksgiving dessert table. Cut these up and lay it out on a three-tiered dessert stand and it will also add some height and variety to the dessert offerings. These bars have a middle that tastes and has the texture of pumpkin pie. The crust has more of shortbread consistency and taste and obviously the top is just a ridiculous concoction of coconut and butterscotch chips that provides a serious yum factor to the bars. So make it now or later but please enjoy!

Source: Annie's Eats adapted from Joy the Baker, originally from Kraft

For the crust and topping:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup chopped pecans
For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Butterscotch chips, for topping


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Lightly grease the foil. Combine the flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl and toss with a fork. Add the pieces of butter to the dry ingredients and cut it in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the oats and chopped pecans.

Reserve 1 cup of the crust mixture and set aside. Add the remaining crust mixture to the prepared baking pan and press onto the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Bake the crust alone in the oven for 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling.

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and well combined.

Once the crust has been removed from the oven, pour the filling into the pan and smooth over the crust. Sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture and butterscotch chips, as desired. Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve.

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