Soft and gooey pumpkin bars made with pumpkin puree and flavored with pumpkin spice. The brown butter in the bars amplifies the spices and the tangy cream cheese buttercream rounds out these flavors perfectly.
Soft and gooey pumpkin bars made with pumpkin puree and flavored with pumpkin spice. The brown butter in the bars amplifies the spices and the tangy cream cheese buttercream rounds out these flavors perfectly. It all happens in one bowl and if you add caramel on top these will be the most impressive but simple fall inspired bars.
These bars underwent many, many tests. The initial idea was a blondie but with the pumpkin puree there was too much, err, softening agent, in there to get a chewy texture. Once I stopped trying to make them something they weren’t going to be (or didn’t want to be) and leaned into the gooey bar texture, it all clicked. I had gotten to the exact texture and flavor I wanted; on the seventh trial I slapped on some cream cheese buttercream.. And then we couldn’t stop eating them. They didn’t need to be blondies, they were gooey bars and they were perfect.
Also, a special note! This recipe went out to my email subscribers first with a request that if they made them, they send over some feedback. So far I’ve had three successful remakes of these, here are notes from two:
Lauren: I was expecting something different…more of a chewy brownie texture, but I did REALLY enjoy them. I didn’t have pumpkin spice so I did 1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t ginger, 1/4 t nutmeg 1/8 t allspice and cloves. I would up the amounts a little more next time…and would definitely use it already mixed if I had it. I eyeballed the spices for the buttercream (which was lovely and creamy) I used a goats milk caramel that I had leftover from a cake.
Charity: I made the below recipe to share with friends over the weekend and they came out perfect. My friends loved them and ate the whole pan. I didn’t have or want to make caramel but I thought it was still great without that swirled on top. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Will definitely make these again!
Butter: this will be browned so it’s fine if it’s cold.
Pumpkin puree: canned or homemade; I like Libby’s.
Brown sugar: Light or dark is fine.
Flour: All purpose, measure by grams if you can and if not shake the flour over the measuring cup and level it.
Eggs: One large egg and a yolk, it’s fine if they are cold.
Pumpkin pie spice: Make your own if you prefer or just add a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves (or leave out whichever of those you don’t like!).
Sour cream: Important to keep the bars from baking up dry. Yogurt or labneh is a fine substitute.
What brand pumpkin puree do you recommend?
Libby’s, because it’s thick and not watery, but make sure it’s pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie puree (that has added sugars and spices).
What should I do with the leftover egg white?
You’ll make these small batch double chocolate chip cookies, of course!
What can I substitute the sour cream with?
Plain or vanilla greek yogurt or labneh if you have it. Don’t skip this, the bars are kind of dry without it.
Got any caramel recipe recommendations?
Do I ever! This apple Cider Caramel is my favorite one on the site.
Can I skip the buttercream?
PLEASE DON’T! The bars are good by themselves but they are SO good with the buttercream and I don’t want you to have them without it because I want you to have the full experience.
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