Pumpkin Bars

pumpkinbars2I love this time of year, pumpkin EVERYTHING, in any form. It’s so wonderful in everything you put it in, how can we only use it (in a social/seasonally acceptable fashion) only two months out of the year? TELL ME WHY?!

I’m going to have to just give up Pumpkin Pie completely, because these are just absolutely ridiculous-my tighter jeans said so. I literally can’t not eat more than three at a time. I didn’t even attempt to make these healthy, but I’ll give it another go soon to cut out some of the sugar and go easier on the frosting, so stay tuned.

I’m an absolute freak, for making things harder on myself than should be. Taking something to a potluck or gathering for instance. I almost always pick something to bring that is ridiculously labor intensive (individual or bite size servings in large quantities), or something that needs to be piping hot, or appropriately chilled to be served at best. Why do I do this, why?! I’m trying to learn my lesson, and not cause so much un-needed food stress. (woe-is-me-right?)

Well here is the answer to every single one of those problems. These bars are easy, quick to bake, easy to frost, and they can be chilled or at room temp. What could make these better, but cream cheese frosting?! Yep, it’s got that too. Cream cheese frosting in any instance is great at locking in the moisture of the cake/bars.
Cream Cheese Frosting two-part awesome factor-
1. Cream cheese is dense, when you pair that with locking these up air tight, it makes your bars last so much longer, locking in all that moisture.
2. When you chill bars, whether same day, or as leftovers (because it’s dairy, fridge it!) and then serve them again later, as they come to room temp, some of the cream cheese starts soaking in to the bars. Extra yum factor.

This was my first jelly roll pan (12×17) experience. Love it, will do again! I wanted them more bar-like than cake-like (9×13) in a rectangular cake pan, bars are so much easier to get out of jelly roll pan than a cake pan! But either is great, so just use whatever you have on hand, or prefer. I feel like in my jelly roll pan I can eat more, stretching it out! Course…I’m not supposed to eat the whole pan alone- I’m pretty much doing that.

I LOVE November, December, and everything holiday, and I HATE eating moderately these two months. It is absolutely zero fun. So in honor of kicking off Thanksgiving week, lots of football, Family and Friendsgiving’s, eating till you explode and excessive amounts of wine, let’s celebrate with a basicĀ pumpkin bar recipe. There really isn’t a lot of variation of them floating around, unless you start adding in different ingredients. Sometimes it’s better to just stick with keeping it simple, and not over-complicating what’s already great! (Isn’t that true in life sometimes too?)

**I can’t wait to re-post my healthier version in a couple weeks! Enjoy!! (I am…still)

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 15oz can of Libby’s Pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup veg or canola oil

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 nutmeg
3 tsp cinnamon

7 oz. cream cheese, softened– I know, you can use the whole package, I just think it makes it too much frosting, people tend to start scraping it off
5 tbsp. of butter, softened
1 tbsp. milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 C powdered sugar

1. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
2. Whisk together oil, eggs, sugar and pumpkin.
3. Pour into a greased (buttered, floured. Or, sprayed, then floured) 12 x 17 jelly roll pan or 9 x 13 cake pan.
4. Bake at 350 for 24 minutes in the jelly roll pan (35 minutes in the 9×13). Make sure when you remove from the oven to set it on a wire rack or something that allows air flow to the bottom of the pan.

Cream all ingredients until smooth. Add the powdered sugar in 4 sessions slow so it doesn’t explode all over your kitchen.
Wait about 20 minutes or until cooled to frost.pumpkinbars1


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