Pumpkin Pie Bars
I should be in class right now, but my dog had different plans for me. As I was trying to rush out the door (I was rushing because I was already running late), Irving started barfing all over the living room. Yep. Great way to start the day, huh? After cleaning that up, freaking out that he might be dying (he’s 12 1/2 so I freak out any time he does anything even remotely not normal), and looking outside to see that it was pouring down rain, I decided I could miss Calculus today. Of course, I need to stay home and monitor the patient, right? It has nothing to do with the fact that I do not feel like running across campus in a downpour. Perhaps you will remember that I mentioned a while back that we had flooding in the area? Well, campus was shut down for nearly a week because some of the buildings and parking decks were flooded. I’m sure you can infer that means campus does not have a good drainage system, even on days where it doesn’t end up flooding. So, yeah, nothing to do with that at all.
Instead I will sit here and revisit the memory of these Pumpkin Pie Bars. Sadly, they are all gone now which only goes to point out how good they were. Once a month we have a game night with two other couples; typically this is something we all take turns hosting at our respective homes. October was my month, but we decided to all go to a corn maze instead of staying in playing games. Now, one of the reasons I so enjoy my months of hosting is that it gives me the chance to try out new recipes on a larger group of people. I love cooking for people, so I took the opportunity to bring some baked goods to my friends. They thought they were going to be able to escape my food, but they were wrong! I also took a few to my mom as she is a lover of all things pumpkin. And of course Ryan and I had to sample them for ourselves. Ryan and I both liked them, though we did end up throwing some away after forgetting they were in there so I guess they weren’t a total success. I think if that was the only dessert I had made, we would have loved them, but they didn’t stand up to the pie which is the only of the three Pumpkin Week recipes that didn’t see the trash can at some point. My mom LOVED them. She called me shortly after I dropped them off to tell me how amazing they were, and not in the “I’m your mom, I have to be nice” way, in the “These are so good I couldn’t wait to tell you how awesome they are” way. I have to admit, I like getting that kind of feedback.
The only variation I made to the recipe was to omit the walnuts as one of my friends is allergic. If I make these again, I think I will be sure to include the nuts because they would have added a nice texture and crunch to the crust. I also think mixing chocolate chips in with the butterscotch chips would be delicious. I thought about adding both, but honestly, the butterscotch chips were more expensive than I expected so I decided to forego an additional bag of chocolate chips. The butterscotch chips were very rich, and I think cutting them with semi-sweet chocolate would have helped them not be so overwhelming. The crust and crumb topping was delicious! Since I don’t have a pastry cutter and have never had success in using two knives to cut in the butter, I placed the very cold butter, flour, and sugars in the food processor and pulsed until they resembled coarse crumbs. I was disappointed that the crumb topping turned a little soft pretty quickly; I’m not sure how to store these in a way that prevents that.
Pumpkin Pie Bars
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup cold butter
1 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked
8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
15 oz pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons bourbon
a handful of butterscotch chips
HEAT oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; grease foil. Mix flour, 1/4 granulated sugar and brown sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives or use food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats.
RESERVE 1 cup oat mixture; press remaining onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min. Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla, bourbon, pumpkin and spice with mixer until well blended. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and a handful of butterscotch chips.
BAKE 25 min.; cool 10 min. Use foil to transfer dessert from pan to wire rack; cool completely.
Source: Joy the Baker