Pumpkin Bars

It seems like everybody claims that Autumn is their favorite season.  Is it because it seems to come and go in a flash?   I personally think that’s why everybody seems to get worked up in a frenzy over Autumn the second September hits, because truthfully it feels like it lasts two days.  You wait and wait for those leaves to change, you have about 10 minutes to take pictures while the leaves are on the trees and then another 20 minutes when they still look pretty on the ground. And then they turn into work, raking and bagging and raking again after the kids jump in them and they’re strewn all over the lawn again.

When I lived in Ontario, I used to take my children to take pictures every Autumn.  One year I missed it completely somehow because by the time I got to it, everything beautiful had fallen off the trees and either blown away or had lost their color.  From there on in, I remember actually scheduling leaf-taking-pictures in my calendar, because all of a sudden it’s November and Autumn is over and you have to get pictures of your kids at the portrait studio in Walmart instead of nature’s beauty.

I do love Autumn, but have never quite understood the giddy that comes along with pumpkin season.  Don’t get me wrong, as a cook, I love the food that is ‘in season’ and fresh and brings new ideas to our plates, but I’m not rushing for a pumpkin frappuccino at $8 a pop.

But I have loved these Pumpkin Bars perhaps forever  My mom has been making them as long as I can remember.  They’re easy, moist, and seasonal.  Of course, with canned pumpkin readily available, these are a treat worth making year round.  As with all recipes older than 20 years, the liquid was original a cup of oil, but I changed it to 3/4 natural, sugar free yogurt, and they were just as good without all those bad calories.

If you’re new to baking, you’ll love them.  And if you’re a pro, you’ll love how simple they are and still a seasonal crowd pleaser.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural, sugar free yogurt
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking sda
  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar, yogurt, and pumpkin until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.  Add dry ingredients to wet and stir just to combine.  Spread batter in an ungreased 15×10 baking pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

While bars are cooling, make cream cheese icing.  Cream together cream cheese and butter.  Stir in vanilla.  Add icing sugar, a little at a time, beating well until mixture is smooth.  Spread over cooled bars.

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