Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars

After going a bit apple crazy for a while, I’ve since been on a pumpkin mission. I want to get in as many different ideas as I can while it’s still technically pumpkin season. I’m pretty sure pumpkin items are totally acceptable well into November but October seems to be the big month for it. Of course, if no one complains or gets sick of new pumpkin recipes then maybe I’ll just keep going as long as I have a supply. I promise I won’t go that long as I have plenty more cans to go. I’m positive several cans will stay tucked away for next year, with my luck there won’t be a shortage next year and it’ll have been silly to have purchased extra this year. Still, better to plan ahead just in case right?

I like quick fix recipes and recipes that don’t make a ton. Smaller batches are best, especially if you aren’t sure how the item will turn out but also just so there isn’t a ton to eat if you don’t have lots of willing mouths to devour whatever it is you’ve cooked up. For that reason, I tend to cut recipes in half both for the experimental reason but also because I don’t want a ton of stuff floating around taunting me and calling my name. Now if only I could cut down cupcake recipes to half a dozen instead of a dozen. I’ve already cut it down that far. I know freezing is possible with many items but I’ve still yet to tackle that. I have fear of freezer burn and fear that even if freezer burn doesn’t occur that the item still won’t be anywhere near as good as it was fresh. I can’t bring myself to do it, as much as I say I want to it just never happens. Maybe someday I’ll break out of that fear, jump into the large batch cooking world and freeze lots of goodies for a rainy day. Until then, smaller batches it is.

This particular time I had decided to try making a pumpkin bar, especially after having success with both the blueberry lemon squares and apple pie squares. I figured why not try a pumpkin version. The only real similarity is that they all have a crust, a moist filling and a topping. Outside of that they’re all quite different, but equally delicious in their own ways. As with the apple pie squares, no one recipe jumped out at me for this occasion. I either didn’t like the crust, or the topping or the filling. So in the end I played around with it slightly, changing the sugar from white to brown, changing the spices and even quantities more to my liking. It’s not a total alteration but it’s a blend of a few ideas and then mixed up. The end result was beautiful, having a perfectly spiced gingerbread base and crunchy topping and complimented with a nice creamy pumpkin filling.

As much as I say pie is easy, some will never agree. If you’re one of those anti pie baking people, this is so easy you really should try it. I promise it’s easy. And if you love pumpkin, you must make this… you will love this just as much as other pumpkin recipes. Can you really go wrong baking with pumpkin?

Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars

Ingredients:

Crust and topping ingredients:
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C butter, softened
2 tbsp molasses
1 C 2 tbsp flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 C old fashioned oats

Filling ingredients:
1 C canned pumpkin
1/4 C brown sugar
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor or large bowl, blend softened butter with brown sugar and molasses. Scrape bowl well. Add flour, baking soda and spices. Mix until all flour and spices are encorporated well. Remove 3/4 cup of gingerbread mix and combine with oats in a small bowl. Set aside.

Line a square baking pan with parchment paper or foil. Allow paper or foil to hangover two sides for easy grabbing later. DO NOT use wax paper. Press the remaining, non-oat mixed gingerbread base into the bottom of your prepared square pan. Spread out and flatten as best as you can. It doesn't need to be perfect.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Scrape bowl, add pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) and sugar. Beat well and scrape your bowl again. Add vanilla and spices, followed by the egg. Blend just until combined. Pour over gingerbread base. Spread the pumpkin filling throughout the pan.

Pinch off pieces of reserved gingerbread oat mix, drop onto pumpkin filling. Do this until all of the gingerbread oat mix has been used up.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15-30 minutes, then pop in the fridge for at least an hour. Remove and cut into squares.

Store in an airtight container for up to several days.


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2 Responses to “Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars”

  1. #
    1
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — October 26, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Good idea… especially for National Pumpkin Day!

  2. #
    2
    Susan: My Food Obsession — October 28, 2010 at 8:03 am

    This looks amazing. I love pumpkin treats :)

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