Friday, October 22, 2010

Shelly's Pumpkin Bars (updated with step-by-step instructions)

My cousin Shelly always brought these to Thanksgiving. As a picky kid, I refused to eat pumpkin or cheese in cake. Oh, what I have been missing all of my life.

I made these from her recipe (with my own slight amendments -- even family recipes I can't resist altering) for the first time this fall. These overwhelmingly beat out the Bar-like pumpkin bars altered from Allrecipes.

Since my husband's pants are really taking the beating from my cooking addiction, he requested trying to make these with 75% of the sugar. I will try this next time. However, I am quite averse to sugar substitutes, so I will probably do this by reducing the amount of frosting and the amount of powdered sugar in the frosting, and by just reducing the amount of sugar in the cake itself a bit. It will take some experimenting to see how far I can go.

Bars Ingredients
.5 c. canola oil
.5 c. unsweetened applesauce
2 c. sugar
2 c. pumpkin
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Raisins or nuts, optional

Bar Directions
1. Combine the first six ingredients (oil, applesauce, sugar, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla) in the kitchen aid mixer, until well mixed, light and fluffy.

2. Sift in the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
3. Mix until well combined, scraping the beater and sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is mixed.
4. Pour the batter into a greased (Pam works fine) commercial cookie sheet pan.

Note: In the step-by-step pictures, I was using a 11 1/2 by 8 in. pyrex, because I made a half recipe. The volume was not exactly half of the commercial cookie sheet I use for the full recipe, so the pictures in the pyrex are a bit thicker than what the cake looks like in the cookie sheet pan.

5. Bake in a jelly roll pan at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

6. Let the bars cool a bit before frosting with Cream Cheese Frosting. I am not sure exactly how much frosting I use for the full sheet pan or how long I let these cool! I fail as a food blogger, clearly.

Something is missing from that pan!

Ah, here it is:

Where do these keep running off to ;) ?

Note: This Cream Cheese Frosting is my preferred cream cheese frosting. Below is the original recipe with Shelly's bars.
3 oz. cream cheese
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 stick margarine

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