Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Bars: Cooking with Alicia & Annie

It's time for another Cooking with Alicia & Annie post! Considering the time of year, I decided to go with pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. I really wish these were scratch-and-taste pictures. Yum. Yum. Yum! I took plates to several friends, which was a very good thing. As it was, I ate way too many of these delicious morsels.

I didn't change as many things as I did with the Peach Crisp (I almost re-wrote that recipe), but I did decrease the amount of sugar by 1/4 cup, and the oil by half. I just could not in good conscience put a whole cup of oil in the batter. I also decreased the amount of nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, which are pretty strong spices. The measurements for the cream cheese frosting were a little off, so I changed those, too.

Pumpkin Bars (Adapted from Alicia's Recipes)
Printable Recipe

for the bars:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 15-oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup oil

for the cream cheese frosting:
1 8-oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar (start with 4, and add up to 1 more cup if needed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 teaspoons milk

1. Heat your oven to 350. Line a 10x15-inch baking sheet with foil, with the short ends folded over the sides, and spray the foil with non-stick spray.

2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and mix on low until everything is combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix on medium for 2 minutes.

3. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking sheet and spread it evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

4. While the bars are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar, and mix on low until it's mostly combined. Add the vanilla and 2 teaspoons of the milk. Mix on low for 60 seconds; scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on medium-low until the frosting is very smooth and creamy. If it seems too wet add a little more powdered sugar; if it seems like it is too thick and will be hard to spread, add another teaspoon of milk. Be careful, though; cream cheese frosting is gooey by nature, so it can be tricky to know when you have the right consistency. If in doubt, try spreading some on the bars.

Makes about 36 bars.


  1. Thanks, Amanda and Mathea! They were so good...they just slid right down, and I ate *way* too many :)

  2. These look amazing, Tiffiny! I long for the days when I can bake like this again...hopefully in a couple of years. :oD

  3. These look delicious! I'm impressed with how tidy they look--whenever I frost things and cut them, they end up a little smushed. Yours are beautiful!

  4. Trista, someday soon :)

    Hungry Dog, I'll share my secrets to nice looking cut bars and brownies: First, you have to let the goodies cool all the way (I know...*so* hard!) Second, wipe your knife after each cut. Third, start at one end of the pan, cut straight down to the bottom, and then slide the knife all the way to the other side of the pan. Fourth, use a plastic knife. They slide through the treats without grabbing on to anything and ripping it.

    Thanks for your comments! :)

  5. I am laughing at the idea of "Scratch and taste".
    And yet... wishing it was real. Those look fab!

  6. I absolutely detest pumpkin pie but as it is the season, I wanted to do something autumn-y, plus I was feeling somewhat left out during these pumpkin crazed days. These bars looked ideal and seemed to fill the void, and really they taste more like a spice cake to me than pumpkin. Especially with a hefty smear of cream cheese frosting on top! By the way, I only used about 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and it is plenty sweet.

  7. Barbara, my sister hates pumpkin pie, too, but she tried these--for me--and really liked them. I personally think cream cheese frosting makes everything awesome :)


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