Pumpkin Pie is just, like, the best don’tcha think? (Pecan Pie too!!! Right?!) Why do we only get it one time a year? Not fair. Not fair at all. It’s not fair to the pumpkin, it’s not fair to the pie and it’s certainly not fair to me. As much as I love pumpkin pie (oh, and pecan pie too…sorry little fella), I kinda felt like I needed to branch out a bit and take what we all love about it and turn it into something easier to eat…and pass around (which would make it easier to enjoy more often!), kinda like I did with my Cobbler Bars this past summer. I just took the concept of something normally eaten with a fork…and a plate…and a napkin…and waved my magic wand over it to make it portable and handheld. And I opted to put chopped pecans in the ‘crust’/topping so the Pecan Pie wouldn’t get mad, (don’t you just hate an angry nut pie?).
These Pecan-Pumpkin bars are pretty darn awesome. And I’ve got the quotes from several small children and adults to prove it. My daughter, who is suspicious of most things she’s never seen before, loved them. Ate two of them. And I can’t type this post quick enough for the taste testers who have already requested the recipe. These bars are just everything you love about the pie, but easier to eat, and less formal. You don’t need a fancy holiday dinner to eat these guys- they’re like the super cool, casual cousin of the Pumpkin Pie. They’re the dessert you wanna go grab a beer with and just talk for hours with on the couch. The kind of dessert who wouldn’t judge you for not wearing makeup or real pants.
They won’t mind a bit if you’re in your sweatpants.
(makes 24 large bars/squares)
Start by making your crust/topping batter:
In your standing mixer, place the following…
-2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
-1 cup light brown sugar, packed
–4 large eggs
-good splash vanilla
Mix this until creamy, light and fluffy. Then add in (with the mixer still on)…
-3 cups flour (I prefer to use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, but white, AP flour is fine)
-1 tsp baking powder
-3 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Then, once the dry has been fully incorporated, add in…
-1 cup finely chopped pecans (walnuts are a great sub)
Spread 3/4 of your batter evenly on the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch baking dish (glass is preferred).
Set aside while you make your filling.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the following…
-1 can plain pumpkin puree
-8 ounces (1 brick) neufchatel cream cheese, room temperature (I actually prefer the flavor of the reduced fat version)
-3 large eggs
-1 cup light brown sugar, packed
-1 cup milk, cream or evaporated whole milk
-good splash vanilla extract
-smaller splash almond extract
-good pinch salt
-1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Mix using an electric beater (if you have one) until everything is mixed in well, with no lumps.
Pour over your ‘crust’.
Take the remaining batter and dollop it along the top of the filling. No need to be specific about where it goes, just make sure it’s fairly even so each bite has roughly the same amount.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour, or until the center of the filling no longer jiggles.
Hey! I'm making this treat this afternoon. When I made the crust/topping it wasn't like batter. It's more like crumble; it's very dry. I'm trying to decide if it's missing something or if it's just drier than I expected. What do you think?
Hi Adah!! Hmm… And you used all the butter/egg? Without being there to see it, (and I'm out of town now/without my kitchen!) sounds like you can salvage it by adding more wet. Incorporating more butter will make it wetter and spread, more eggs will make it cakier- but if you have a crumble mixture that can still perhaps produce a great bar!! Just would be different..maybe you're creating your own killer pumpkin bar recipe over there! Lemme know how it turns out! So sorry you're having trouble.
Thanks, Abbey. Trouble would be an overstatement (nothing to apologize for!), just curious because I got different results during the process. They turned out well. I'm going to try them again sans distracting children to see if everything turns out the same way. But they hit the spot and were just what we needed. Thank you!!!