In our household that is full of boys, dogs, and dads, it is a given that as the Halloween season approaches there will be plenty of treats and pumpkins in our midst. I'm A O.K. with this for a couple of reasons. I love Halloween, naturally I love treats, and I'm of the opinion that you just can't have too many pumpkins.
I grew up on a farm with a big garden. My mom tended to that garden almost religiously and the fruits (and in this case vegetables) of her efforts helped feed our family throughout the year. The eastern quarter of the garden, that was my neighborhood, or so I liked to believe. That was the pumpkin patch.
During those days on the farm, I don't recall my mom ever using pumpkin from a can. Nor do I remember her making anything with pumpkins other than pumpkin pie, which was and probably to this day remains my favorite pie.
It seems that back then life was simpler. Cream cheese pumpkin bars like this may have existed, but not likely from the ovens of any rural dairy farms. Sometimes change is good and now recipes like this one are readily available and there seems to be no end to the goodness that can come from my favorite garden produce.
From the comments and emails we get from our readers it seems apparent that many of you can't get enough pumpkin in your lives either, especially this time of year. To that end, we'll be getting our pumpkin on here Platter Talk. Grab yourself a can or three of packed pumpkin or perhaps a couple of small baking pumpkins and let's get ready to bake!
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Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bars
- 1-⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar divided
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup cold butter cubed
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 package 8 ounces cream cheese, softened, cubed
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 can 15 ounces solid-pack pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- ¾ cups mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, mix flour, ¼ cup sugar and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in oats and pecans. Reserve 1 cup for topping.
- Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, spices and remaining sugar until smooth. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla.
- Add eggs; beat on low speed just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Pour over warm crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
- Bake 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and filling is set.
- Cool on a wire rack. Serve or refrigerate, covered, within 2 hours.
- Cut into bars.