Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bars
Servings: 24 Yield: 24 bars Prep 15 mins Chill 30 mins Bake 350°F 20 mins

Ingredients

Cake:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • Chopped walnuts, for garnish (optional)
Decorating:
  • Marshmallow Dough (recipe follows)
  • Coarse sugar, for garnish (optional)

Make It

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray. Line bottom and sides with waxed paper; coat paper with spray.

Cake:

2. In bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.

3. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and pumpkin (mixture will look curdled). On low speed, beat in flour mixture alternately with milk, ending with flour; beat 1 minute or just until smooth. Stir in walnuts. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

4. Bake in 350 degree F oven until toothpick tests clean, 20 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Invert onto rack; remove paper. Let cake cool.

Frosting:

5. In bowl, beat together cheese, butter and vanilla until creamy, 1 minute. On low, gradually beat in sugar; beat until fluffy, 1 minute. Spread over top of cake. Garnish with walnuts, if desired. Refrigerate to set, 30 minutes.

Decorating:

6. On surface dusted with confectioners sugar and with dusted fingers, shape Marshmallow Dough into pumpkins, with a mouth and eyes. Or, roll dough out to 1/8-inch thickness; cut out shapes with 1-1/4-inch cookie cutters, such as pumpkins, leaves and acorns.

7. Cut cake in 24 squares. Top with dough shapes or cutouts and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Makes 24 bars.

Marshmallow Dough

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup marshmallow creme
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • Assorted soft gel or paste food colors (orange, black, green)

Make It

1. In bowl, knead marshmallow creme with 1 cup confectioners sugar until combined. Transfer to work surface; knead in 1/2 cup more confectioners sugar. Divide into 4 or 5 pieces; knead assorted soft gel or paste food colors (orange, black, green) into dough pieces as desired.