Pumpkin treat season is quite possibly one of my favorite times of year. While I’m not super thrilled about the impending cold, I do loooove pumpkin treats, and fall spices of all sorts. I also love scarves, and boots and other fall things….but only until Christmas, and then I’m pretty much over it. If you hate cold as much as I do, don’t worry, pumpkin will help you through it. This is a great way to get that pumpkin pie flavor without having to deal with pie crust. Through my years of baking, I have learned it can be a major pain in the ass to transport baked goods. That is not the case with these; they are easy to take with you. So make them, eat half yourself and take the rest to the tailgate party this weekend.
This recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs Joythebaker but I do believe it is originally a good ol’ K-R-A-F-T recipe.
1-1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) cold butter or margarine, cut into tablespoons
1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice (you can also use ground cloves if you don’t have allspice)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A handful of butterscotch chips
Preheat the oven to 350.
Line a 9X13 pan with foil, with foil extending over the sides (you will be lining the 13in sides and bottom of this, the 9in sides will remain unlined, the purpose of this is to assist with lifting out the bars). Grease the foil. Mix together 1/4 cup of the sugar, the brown sugar and the flour.
Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or a fork, but seriously if you don’t have a pastry blender go buy one). Blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats and chopped nuts.
Reserve 1 cup of the mixture. Press the remainder evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 mins. Beat softened cream cheese until smooth, add remaining sugar and beat again until smooth. Add pumpkin, eggs, spices, and vanilla and beat again. Pour over crust.
Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture and a handful of butterscotch chips.
Bake for 25 mins. Cool for 10 mins. Using foil lift the bars out and place on a large cutting board to finishing cooling. When cool (or as cool as you can let them get before you want to eat them) slice them into bars using a large sharp knife.
A few notes:
If you don’t have all the spices needed you could substitute one tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. I’m not a fan of blends, personally, but if you have it and you don’t want to go out and buy the other spices, it will work. Also- in the same category- if you cannot find regular pumpkin or you accidentally buy pumpkin pie mix instead, omit the ¼ cup of sugar and the spices.
Audrey (that’s my mom) has always sworn by Libby’s pumpkin. Recently I was making curried pumpkin soup and I used another brand of pumpkin…and it was not good. So I’m going to go with my mom on this and recommend Libby’s (second of course to homemade pumpkin puree). *Note- my mom also uses Libby’s. – Cat
One other note- I thought it would be awesome to melt the butterscotch chips and drizzle it over the top, (because I’m fancy like that) but it was a disaster. Butterscotch chips do not melt like chocolate chips do. It has something to do with the fact that real butterscotch is made with butter and does not ever solidify- so they add something (that I probably don’t want to think about) to make them into those cute little chips. That “something” makes the chips impossible to melt. So don’t try, just sprinkle them on.
I served this with vanilla bourbon whipped cream. It was delicious, possibly unnecessary, but delicious. If you want to make that, beat 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream until soft peaks start to form, add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbs of bourbon (more or less to taste) and beat until stiff peaks form. Taste and adjust sugar/bourbon if necessary.