The snow has finally melted from our freakish Halloween snowstorm that left us with 26 inches of way too early white stuff, so now I can breathe. I had visions of seeing snow on the ground from October to April, which was not a happy thought. Yesterday I took a lovely long walk, smiling at the still-bright leaves on the trees and the not-too-chilly temps. And then I headed straight to my stash of canned pumpkin.
Pumpkin is to me what chocolate is to my children - addictive, rich, the essence of Fall. I love it roasted, baked, sauteed - and in the most delicious cakes, cookies, and bars you can imagine. I did once try a pumpkin mousse, but didn't like the texture. Give me a lovely pumpkin bar, juicy with raisins and smooth with a handful of milk chocolate chips, then topped with my favorite cream cheese frosting. Heaven - and the heck with the diet today!
I recently found a recipe for pumpkin pie spice in bulk - something I would never buy, but it does come up in recipes, so I made up a few tablespoons of the mix. It called for:
4 T. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. ginger
1/2 t. cloves
Mix well and store in a bottle.
Pumpkin Bars with cream cheese frosting:
(recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod, adapted)
1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree, canned
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg, extra large
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 t. pumpkin pie spice mixture
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease an 8"x8" square baking pan with Crisco. Cut to fit a strip of waxed paper that covers the bottom and ends of the baking pan, with a few inches to spare, so you can lift it out easily when it's done. Grease the waxed paper as well.
Mix together the pumpkin, canola oil, egg, and buttermilk. Add the sugars and stir, then add the pumpkin pie spice and stir.
Add the flour and baking soda to the mix and briefly mix. Add the raisins and chocolate chips and stir briefly until combined. Spread into pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the batter is firm to the touch. Remove and cool for ten minutes, then lift the cake out, firmly holding onto the wax paper ends. Set on a cooling rack.
Set a cooling rack on top of the pumpkin cake, then flip the cake. Peel off the waxed paper, and flip back to cool on the rack.
Making the cream cheese frosting:
1 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
1 stick of room temp unsalted butter (4 oz)
juice of half a fresh lemon
3/4ths box confectioners sugar
Mix all well until creamy and set aside.
Trim the edges off the cooled pumpkin cake.
Using a dull knife, swirl the cream cheese frosting all over the cake.
Cut the cake into 6 pieces ( more or less, as you wish)
Remove bars to a plate and tidy up the frosting.
More pumpkin recipes!
Enjoy every bite :)