One of my favorite things about fall is baking with pumpkin. It truly is one of those ingredients that you like or don’t like. I always get excited when I see pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pies, and even pumpkin bagels at the local bakeries in my neighborhood. One of my specialty is the elusive and oh-so-delicious pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting.
At work, I’m the resident baker. I love to bring in goodies for my colleagues. I truly love to bake and I know it’s because I love seeing the satisfaction on the faces of those that are eating it. This is by far one of the easiest recipes to use and I’ve had it since 2004. After I graduated from college, I worked at Marshall Field’s that summer before I found a “real” job and one of the best things about working at MF was the cooking demos they had in the kitchen department. One summery day, they were demonstrating pumpkin bars and giving out samples. I think this is where I really had a pumpkin bar for the first time and I fell in love with the flavors. It was so tasty that I had to nab a copy of the recipe that they were handing out, and now I’m sharing that recipe (with minor alterations) with you. Enjoy and happy baking!
INGREDIENTS for FROSTING:
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese
3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
INGREDIENTS for BARS
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15 oz.) solid pack pumpkin (DO NOT BUY PUMPKIN PIE MIX)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. To prepare the frosting, beat softened butter and cream cheese until well
blended. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. In a separate
bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt;
gradually add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.
4. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13″ pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool
completely. Ice with Cream Cheese Frosting.
MAKES 48 bars.
NOTES and TIPS: You can also use an 11 x 14″ pan – cook time is still between 25-30 minutes. Line the pan with parchment paper and let it hang over the sides so that you can easily lift the bars out of the pan after their cooled – so much easier to ice them and cut them afterwards.