When you get past a certain age, you think you'd be immune to peer pressure, but you'd be wrong. See, I scroll through several food blogs every day and for the past few weeks all I have seen is pumpkin, pumpkin and more pumpkin! To fit in with the food blogging world, I really felt like I should be making something pumpkin based. But there are two problems here--first off, short of roasting pumpkin seeds, I have never baked anything with pumpkin! And secondly, and this is a biggie, (gulp--here goes) I don't like pumpkin. Stop yelling already, all right? I think I was just a little misguided. What I should have said is that I didn't like pumpkin until now...until these absolutely scrumptious perfect Easy Pumpkin Bars!!
I think my pumpkin-phobia is really more of an allspice-phobia-thing. I LOVE cinnamon, but I really just don't like nutmeg, cloves or ginger at all and since most everything pumpkin is baked with allspice or a combination of these spices, I've just avoided the baked pumpkin territory entirely. Frankly I just could never see why people got so excited about pumpkin, particularly at Thanksgiving. I mean why have a gushy orange slab when there's apple or pecan to choose from? But I think things may change this year, so be forewarned--you may be about to be inundated with pumpkin treats, especially because I have half a can of pumpkin puree left in the fridge!
These pumpkin bars are allspice free (of course) and remind me of carrot cake (sans the nuts and raisins). They mix up in a matter of minutes, come out extremely moist and flavorful and are covered in a delightfully dreamy creamy cream cheese frosting. I made them yesterday afternoon and when we got home after a late hockey practice, everyone hovered around in the kitchen cutting little square after little square until half the pan was gone! They're that good!
The batter is such a pretty color too--
And you basically just mix all the wet ingredients together in the mixer, add the dry ingredients, put it in your pan, bake it and when it cools, slather it with this delicious frosting, and voila!
It's delicious cold too! So jump on the pumpkin wagon like me and get yourself into the kitchen to whip up this tasty seasonal treat!
Easy Pumpkin Bars
Makes anywhere from 16-24 bars, depending on how large you cut them
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Bake Time: 30 minutes plus cooling time to frost
For the Bars:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the Icing:
- 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9"x 13" glass or light colored pan with Pam or other vegetable spray.
2. Using electric mixer, combine eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin at medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda and add to pumpkin mixture on low speed, mixing until thoroughly combined and smooth.
3. Spread the batter in the pan and bake 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
4. To make the icing, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add the sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla to mix. Spread on the cooled pumpkin bars. Cut into squares and serve.
5. These should be stored in the refrigerator, covered. Technically they last up to a week, but I think this may only be a rumor.
Note: These are adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe who adapted it from Paula Deen.