It’s that time of year when the warm, comforting aroma and piquant taste of pumpkin pie spice — cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves — fills our senses and reminds us of autumns past. It’s well-loved and versatile and flavors just about everything from latte and ale to ice cream and cereal and anything in between.
The first treat I think of when this season rolls around is pumpkin pie bars. My favorite recipe comes from the Kraft Foods magazine “Food & Family.” I like the bars much better than pumpkin pie because the crust (made with butter, oats and pecans) is so delicious!
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter or margarine
1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2 inches baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix flour, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender (or two knives) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats and pecans. Reserve 1 cup of the oat mixture; press remaining mixture onto bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes.
Beat cream cheese, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. Use foil handles to lift from pan. Cut into 24 bars. Store leftover bars in tightly covered container in refrigerator.
Yield: 24 bars
A friend recently passed this sweet sentiment my way when we were discussing pumpkin recipes. How true it is…