This time of year, I'm constantly on the prowl for new and interesting ways to use pumpkin. Muffins? Been there. Bread? Done that. Cake? I'm ready for something new. These Pumpkin Pie Bars definitely fit that mold. They're lighter and more casual than pie, but have all the flavor and creamy texture that you'd expect from a thick slice. Plus the added bonus of chocolate chips on top.
I have a confession to make. I've been suffering from writer's block lately. I've been baking and cooking, but when I sit down to write, everything that comes through my fingers onto the page sounds trite and contrived and I wind up deleting it. I'm not sure where this came from. I used to crave sitting down at my computer to blog after making and photographing my latest creation, but that craving is in hiding these days. It's not that I'm uninspired, I just can't find the words.
Fellow writers, how do you overcome writer's block? Maybe I'll start with a pumpkin pie bar.
Pumpkin Pie Bars
Adapted from Joy the Baker, originally from Kraft
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter or margarine
1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a handful of chocolate chips for sprinkling on top
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; grease foil. Combine flour, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats.
2. Reserve 1 cup oat mixture; press remaining onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. Beat cream cheese (be sure it's well softened), remaining sugar, eggs, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla with a mixer until well blended. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and a handful of chocolate chips.
3. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Use foil to transfer dessert from pan to a wire rack; cool completely before cutting.