As a child pumpkin pie was always one of my favorites, until the day that I came to realize that not every pumpkin pie tastes like pumpkin pie. You see my mother makes a very odd pumpkin pie, one called Impossible Pumpkin Pie, which uses Bisquick to help form its own crust during the baking process. Cloves were also evil in our family, so pumpkin pie spice was almost always replaced with only cinnamon. So the day that I learned that the rest of the world celebrated in a clove-laden pie with a pastry crust as its ideal, became the day that I only ate pumpkin pie made by either my mother or me. I refuse to change, because some things are sacred, and pumpkin pie is one of them.
I’ve been holding onto this recipe, just like I’ve been holding on to summer. As much as I enjoy walking outside in the morning to embrace the cold chilly air, I still miss the feel of the sun on my skin. So while I fondly gaze on the last hydrangeas of the season, which are so valiantly fighting to be seen amongst the plethora of Halloween decorations, I can’t help but think of all the amazing food that fall brings with it. There’s nothing like pumpkin pie, followed by pumpkin cookies, followed by pumpkin bars…I think you get the point, anything with pumpkin will do, as long as there are no cloves or crust involved.
- 2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
- 1 Egg
- 1 (15-oz) Can Pumpkin Puree
- 1 (10-oz) Bag Miniature Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips
- 1/2 Cup Toffee Bits
- 1 (10-oz) Jar Caramel Sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9×13 metal baking dish with tin foil, and then coat it with cooking spray.
- Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the sugars, butter and vanilla together.
- Add the egg, and then whisk for 1 minute.
- Whisk in the pumpkin, and then stir in the flour mixture using a spatula.
- Gently fold the miniature chips and toffee bits into the batter.
- Pour 2/3 of the batter into the prepared baking dish, and spread it out evenly.
- Bake for 10 minutes, and then remove from the oven.
- Evenly distribute the caramel sauce over the top of the batter, and then spread the remaining batter on top of the caramel.
- Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Cool completely before cutting into squares.
- Microwave the caramel sauce on 30-second intervals until pourable, otherwise you will have a very difficult time spreading it onto the pumpkin bars. Don’t be too concerned if the pumpkin batter and the caramel sauce combine, it won’t make a huge difference.
- Here’s a tip for lining a pan with foil.
- I used Trader Joe’s (Jacques) Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce in this recipe. It’s affordable, tastes great, and I’ve never had any problems baking with it. Knock on wood. You can use this recipe for Easy Caramel Sauce if you want to make everything from scratch.
- I threw these in the freezer to cool them down quickly, so that I could cut them into squares. I would advice using the refrigerator for a couple of hours as a better option.
- White chocolate morsels mixed with dark chocolate chunks; I really think that could work well here.
- Mix in a few handfuls of almonds, or sprinkle them on top before baking.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: Caramel Pumpkin Blondies from Tide and Thyme
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