Pumpkin Pie Bars

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I went to the British Virgin Islands for 10 days. We chartered a sailboat for 8 of those days with family. Thanksgiving fell while we were on that vacation. Our Thanksgiving dinner was a pub-style restaurant, and it was tropical pizza, chickpea salad, and for dessert, we had a virgin Pina colada! I definitely missed the traditional meal. One thing I missed the most was pumpkin treats. I made these pumpkin pie bars shortly after we came home from that trip. They have a delicious sweet and buttery crust, and they are filled with pumpkin and heavenly spices – then topped with some reserve crust mixture and coconut. So yummy! Since then, I’ve made these quite a few times. They are always a popular treat! Enjoy.

Recipe for Pumpkin Pie Bars

INGREDIENTS

1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup of old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup of almonds
12 ounces of very cold unsalted butter chopped into small pieces (put in freezer for about 15 minutes before using)

For the filling

  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. of ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. of ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. of ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups of canned pumpkin puree

For the filling

  • Reserved crust mixture
  • Sweetened shredded flake coconut

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9 x 9 square pan.

Put the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oats, and almonds into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse for a few seconds to incorporate. Scatter the butter pieces over the mixture. Pulse for several seconds until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour some of the crust mixture into the prepared pan. Use your hands to press down the crust evenly. You should have plenty of reserve crust mixture, but make sure you have at least 1 1/4 cups. Set aside reserved crust mixture. Place pan in oven and cook for about 15 minutes.

While crust is cooking, put the pumpkin, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and spices into a large bowl. Use an electric hand mixer set on medium-high speed to mix ingredients until smooth and well incorporated (about 3 – 5 minutes). Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust. Top with the reserved crust mixture and then top with coconut. Place back in the oven and cook for 25 – 30 minutes. Allow it to cool completely at room temperature, and then cover and refrigerate. Refrigerate for a couple hours before cutting and serving. Makes about 16 servings. Serve with homemade whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe Adapted from: Joy the Baker, originally from Kraft recipes

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