Fall is in the air, and that means, once again, it’s that time of year when nothing’s safe from being pumpkinized. From pop-tarts and pringles to vodka and candles, the air smells of pumpkin spice. I surprisingly am not one to try out these products and am a traditionalist when it comes to pumpkin in the sense that unless it is in a pie, bread, or carved and sitting on your porch, I don't really want any of it... at all. I must say though that last weekend, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I had this sudden urge to make something involving pumpkin. It may have been a result from all of those Starbucks pumpkin spice latte commercials or the fact that Halloween is right around the corner but, I NEEDED pumpkin. So here it is, a pumpkin recipe that is a mixture between a pie and a bar. Crumbly, buttery, and with a hint of cream cheese these bars are sure to please many at any holiday party. 

Ingredients
  •  1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  •  1 cup old-fashioned oats
  •  1/2 cup chopped pecans
  •  1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened, cubed
  •  2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  •  1 teaspoon ground allspice
  •  1 teaspoon ground cardamom*
  • 1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix flour, 1/4 cup sugar and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. 
  3. Stir in oats and pecans. Reserve 1 cup for topping.
  4. Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, spices and remaining sugar until smooth. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until blended.
  6. Pour over warm crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and filling is set. Cool on a wire rack. Serve or refrigerate, covered, within 2 hours*.
  8. Cut into bars. Yield: 2 dozen.
*Notes: These are best served warm or room temperature. When served right of the fridge, the crust is too chewy. 
If you do not have any cardamom you can substitute equal parts allspice and cinnamon. Taken from Taste of Home magazine. 

Enjoy!
xo,
Madeline
 


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