favorite recipe of the week::creamy pumpkin pie bars

For the love of all that is pumpkin, pecans and autumn in the kitchen, PLEASE make these creamy pumpkin pie bars this week. Tomorrow. Oh heck, stop what you’re doing RIGHT NOW AND MAKE THESE. They are sooooo good. I will not confirm nor deny a rumor that i may have eaten half of the pan by myself over the past two days. But if you guessed yes, you’re probably right. ūüėČ

picture from Joy the Baker

My tweaks: I (sadly) had no pecans in the house, so I skipped those and added 1/2 cup more oats into the crust. I also used a food processor for both the crust and the filling. Bam! So quick and so easy. Make sure your cream cheese is niiiiice and soft, or it will get chunky and chunky, my friends, is not okay. Except on babies. Then chunky is welcome and delicious. Oh and maybe chunky peanut butter – if you’re not a smooth fan.

Anyway – I digress.

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars from Joy the Baker

makes 9 bars in a square 8√ó8-inch pan (I used a 9×9 and they were perfect)

For the Crust:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the Filling:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon all-spice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

9 roasted pecan halves for topping

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8-inch square pan with butter or shortening.  Line with parchment paper and set aside.

In the work-bowl of a food processor, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt.  Add cold butter and pulse until the  butter is the size of small peas and oat flakes.  Pour into a bowl, add the oats and the chopped pecans and toss to thoroughly combine.

Remove about 1 1/2 (to 2 cup) of the mixture from the bowl and place in a small bowl in the refrigerator.  This will be the crumble topping. (mmmhm.)

Dump the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan.  Using your fingers, evenly press the crust into the bottom of the pans.  Try to make sure that the crust has an even thickness across the pan.  Place the pressed crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

To prepare the filling, place VERY SOFT cream cheese in the wiped out work-bowl of the food processor. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and process until smooth – about a minute or less.

Remove the pressed crust and loose crumb from the refrigerator. ¬†Pour the creamy pumpkin filling over the pressed crust. ¬†Sprinkle generously with crumb topping and top with pecan halves. ¬†Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles. ¬†Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing. ¬†I like to slice and serve these bars chilled.¬†To store, wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. HA. Like they’re going to stay in your fridge for 4 days – that’s a good one.

These are the perfect marriage of crumbly, oat-ey goodness and tangy, sweet, creamy pumpkin nirvana. And if you make them, please share one, a cup of coffee and some adult conversation with me. ūüôā You’re welcome!