Monday, November 26, 2012

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! What a weekend! Thanksgiving through Christmas is my favorite time of year. I'm still in pumpkin mode, but soon it will be time for chocolate mint. Yum!
Here is another recipe from Anna Ginsberg's The Daily Cookie (add this cookbook to your holiday wish list!). The bars had a great flavor and were very chewy. The cream cheese frosting is a must since they are not very sweet otherwise. I omitted the pecans.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup toasted and chopped pecans

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center. Line a 9 by 13-inch metal pan with nonstick foil or just spray the pan with flour-added baking spray.
Make the base: Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, using a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until well mixed. Add the vanilla and orange zest. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the flour mixture and mix just until blended. Stir in the pumpkin, followed by the pecans. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until set. Let cool completely in the pan. 
Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter in a medium-sized bowl, using a handheld electric mixer. When smooth and creamy, beat in the vanilla and the orange zest. Add the confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating and scraping the sides of the bowl, until you get the consistency you like. Spread on the cooled bars. Using the foil (if you have lined the pan), lift the bars from the pan, set on a cutting board, and cut into 24 bars.
Yields 24 bars

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