Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A love letter to fall.

I equate fall with baking, it's just that simple. Lately I find myself choosing to spend more time indoors lately - nesting, reading, puttering and even better, nesting in my kitchen.  I have written a couple love letters to fall, this one in particular, is a keeper. Like the last post, this recipe for pumpkin pie bars was something I repinned on Pinterest and baked over the weekend for friends.

After popping this into the oven, I recognized that I have held "bars" (as in dessert bars) at arms-length.  Not squite sure why, but I think that I subconsciously filed "dessert bars" in my "do not attempt" dessert category. Boy, I  have been missing out. To every season, turn, all comes full circle and now I'm obsessively looking through recipes and cookbooks in collection that include more dessert bar recipes.

These pumpkin pie bars are easy to make (in fact, I think this would be a fun one to make with kids) and they are effortless.  Most of these ingredients are staples in your pantry and I'm stocking up on canned pumpkin this fall (it will be on sale closer to Thanksgiving) as I know I will be making these again and again.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Crust Ingredients:
1 1/3 c. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. chopped pecans

Filling Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. vanilla 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a food processor, combine crust ingredients and pulse two or three times until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 2/3 cup of the mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture evenly into the bottom of an 8x11 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cool slightly.  

In a medium bowl, combine filling ingredients. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, blend until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture over baked crust. Sprinkle with remaining crust topping. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until firm.

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