Is anyone else having a canned pumpkin shortage in their area? Because if there’s one thing I need at this time of year it’s canned pumpkin. And if there’s one thing I can’t find right now, it’s canned pumpkin. I’m starting to freak out. Luckily, I had one can on stock from last year and my mom donated one to me that she had. Phew.
Anyway, my point is, I have to be careful with my pumpkin until I know for sure I can find it. But when I saw Joy the Baker’s Pumpkin Pie Bars, I immediately knew I had to use one can for them. HAD TO. And I’m so, so glad I did.
The bars are fairly simple to make and are incredibly delicious.
Here’s what you need for Pumpkin Pie Bars:
- 1 1/3 C flour
- 3/4 C granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 C packed brown sugar
- 3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter
- 1 C old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked
- 1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
- 3 eggs
- 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
- 1 T pumpkin pie spice
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 2 t bourbon (optional)
- a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips for sprinkling on top (optional)
I said the walnuts are optional mainly because I didn’t have any. I was going to use the chopped almonds you see above, but then I didn’t like the looks of them and just kept them out all together. A bit more crunch would have been fun, but not totally necessary. The bourbon is also optional. I have a ridiculous amount of alcohol in my kitchen and kind of just assumed I had bourbon in there. I did not. It would have made a nice touch though. Next time!
First you’ll make the crust. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, 1/4 C of the white sugar, and all of the brown sugar. Then cut in your butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. I still don’t have a pastry cutter, so I usually use my (clean) hands; it’s the easiest for me!
Yes, it’s a lot of butter. But it’s fall. You need to keep warm somehow. Then you add in the oats and nuts if you so desire.
You’ll want an 8×13 inch pan. It’s fun if you put tinfoil in it with the ends extending over all sides. That way you can easily lift it out and if you grease the foil, nothing will stick! Save 1 cup of the oat mixture aside. Then take the rest and press it into your pan.
Bake that at 350 for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, you can make the pumpkin filling. Beat together your cream cheese, remaining white sugar, eggs, vanilla, bourbon (if you’re feeling a little crazy), pumpkin, and pumpkin spice until smooth and combined.
I had some cream cheese lumps in mine, but c’est la vie. I knew it would still be delicious.
Once your crust is ready to come out of the oven, pour the pumpkin mixture on top. Then sprinkle with the remainder oat mixture. AND butterscotch chips. They’re optional, but they’re really not. You could use chocolate too, but I’m telling you, butterscotch is the way to go!
I have no idea why I don’t indulge in this combination more often. Pumpkin and butterscotch is heavenly.
Bake that for another 25 minutes and then let it cool for 10.
And then dig in right away because it’s way too good not to.
These bars are basically just like pumpkin pie, but much more portable and fun. They’re like the updated, modern version of pumpkin pie.
Even better if you set it next to a pumpkin! This seriously made me feel so festive and happy. It’s perfectly chilly here in Boston today and pumpkin pie bars just felt like the right thing to do.
I have a feeling I’ll be making these Pumpkin Pie bars many more times this season. Assuming I can find canned pumpkin and majorly stock up on it. If any Boston-area people have pumpkin info. for me, please let me know! You’ll want to find it for yourself too; so you can make these!