Pumpkin Eater

(Sorry for the crappy iPhone photo. I meant to snap shot of this beauty sooner, but that just didn't happen!)

I hate pumpkin pie. It smells so good and the taste of pumpkin and spices is like a forkful of fall. But the texture? Blech. It's like eating baby food. Cold, somewhat soggy baby food.

So what's a girl to do when she loves the taste of something but not the texture? She finds ways to have her pumpkin and eat it too, that's what. Thanks to the Queen of Butter and All Things Deliciously Lethal (otherwise known as Paula Deen), I whipped up a batch of Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting for our Tacho Turkey Day.

Before I go any further, let me just ask this: isn't everything better with cream cheese frosting? Everything dessert-y, anyway.

So, if you want to make delicious Pumpkin Bars, here are some things to consider:
Though they're called Pumpkin Bars, they're more like a Pumpkin Sheet Cake. No matter what you call them, they're awesome. And yummy.

You need to plan ahead, but only a little. Since the bars are made with oil and no other form of fat, you don't have to sit around and wait for butter to come to room temperature.

That said, you do need to wait for the pumpkin bars to cool completely before you attempt the frosting. My suggestion? Make the pumpkin bars before you go to bed. That way they'll cool all night long and your house will smell like pumpkin when you hit the sheets (here's a bonus: the scent of pumpkin is supposedly an aphrodisiac for men!)

The frosting, though majorly yum, is a bit much. To cut the sugar overload, consider making just half the frosting. Cut your bars/cake/awesome pumpkin things into nice even serving sizes, fill up a pastry bag with the frosting, and make pretty little dollops on each bar.

Skip the frosting all together. You could dust the top of the bars/cake/awesome pumpkin thing with powdered sugar and then serve it with whipped cream. Or spread pumpkin butter on the bars/cake/awesome pumpkin thing and serve with whipped cream.

Play with the cake spices if you want. It calls for cinnamon, but you could put in whatever you want: ginger, clove, pumpkin pie spice, etc. You can probably also cut some of the fat by using applesauce....whatever.So, with that said, here is the recipe:

PUMPKIN BARS
4 eggs
1 – 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup oil
one 15 ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.

3. Spread the batter in an ungreased nonstick 13 by 10 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes (or until it feels a tiny bit firm in the middle!).

Let cool completely before frosting.

ICING
One 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Makes 48 small bars or 24 larger ones.