Pumpkin bars are a fantastic fall treat! Pumpkins are everywhere so why not use your pie pumpkin, Fairytale Pumpkin or Jarradale Pumpkin for making these delicious bars? Do as I did and let my boys paint pie pumpkins, we enjoyed them as decorations for a few days and then made bars. Most kids think pumpkins are just for decorations so this is a great way of teaching them that they are food too. Since I have been cooking and baking a lot with pumpkins, my boys told me that I couldn’t use their jack-o-lantern pumpkins to cook or bake with! No problem boys – they aren’t good for eating, just making pumpkins seeds! Of course you can always substitute canned pumpkin when making pumpkin bars. However, do try it. Your baked goods will have a fresher, more robust pumpkin flavor that even our cat Bruce was curious enough to creep up to sneak a taste!
2 cups of cooked and blended pumpkin from a small pie pumpkin, Fairytale pumpkin or Jarradale pumpkin or 1 – 15 oz. can of pumpkin
1 cup of butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
Dash of salt
1 – 6 oz. package of cream cheese
3/4 of a stick of butter at room temperature
1/4 cup of cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
If using a pie pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half and remove all seeds and stringing pulp. Place flesh side down in a cake pan and add water so it only comes up a quarter of the way to the pumpkin. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for an hour or until flesh is soft when pierced. Be careful when removing foil, because hot steam will be released. When cool enough to handle, remove flesh and puree until smooth in a blender. Remove from blender and set aside. If using a Jarradale Pumpkin or Fairytale Pumpkin see How to Cut Pumpkins for Baking and Cooking in the Technique section.
In a large bowl use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix until well blended. Add pumpkin and mix until blended. Add remaining ingredients, adding the flour in batches. Mix until well blended, scraping any ingredients on the side of the bowl to incorporate. Pour mixture into a shallow baking sheet (bar pan) about 14 inches in length, 9 1/2 inches in width and 1 1/2 inches in depth and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Make frosting while bars are cooling. In a medium bowl beat the ingredients together until well blended. As soon as the bars are cool, evenly spread the frosting over the bars and enjoy!
Taking pictures of food is a challenge to showcase it just right and this was one of those moments. I was trying to think of a fun way to display the pumpkin bars and an idea came out of the blue. I chose the cleanest of my two boys that were diving into the pumpkin bars and told Zac to wait before taking a bite. I had him sit in front of our fall tree and told him to take a bite. However, as he was taking a bite of it the cat crept into the picture without any coaxing. Perfect! I kept shooting away and below is a picture of the cat trying to get the crumb that fell right after the picture that was taken above!