Ah yes, pumpkin spice season is here. If there is one pumpkin-flavored recipe you’ve got to try, it’s these bars. They’re wonderfully moist with chocolate tidbits throughout, and the tangy cream cheese frosting complements the cinnamony chocolateness perfectly! In fact, it might be more accurate to call these a pumpkin cake. The texture is light and fluffy, with smooth frosting, and the flavor is so rich, you can easily share (well, maybe you can). This is a great recipe for potluck or event desserts since it makes up so quickly, and pleases pretty much anybody with tastebuds 🙂
Start with your wet ingredients. Mix together the eggs, oil, and pumpkin, then add the sugar. You’ll end up with a pretty gloppy looking orange batter like this:
Next add all the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well, scraping the sides with a spatula at least once (I don’t know about you, but the flour likes to hide in the nooks and crannies of my mixing bowl). Add the chocolate chips at the very end. Your batter will look like this:
Then, use your spatula to evenly spread your pumpkin bars in the greased 13×9 pan. My picture shows a 9×9 because I made a half recipe – my husband has decided we should work harder as a family at eating healthier. Half-recipes are my concession to the new regime.
Last step is to bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. This is one recipe you want to bake until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean, otherwise you end up with messy pumpkin goop.
I don’t have any process pictures for the icing, but it follows the same steps as the Best Buttercream Frosting. Basically, you’re going to mix together your “wet” ingredients (cream cheese, butter, and vanilla), then add the powdered sugar a little at a time – I use 1/2 cup – until you’ve mixed it all in.
A word of caution – the cream cheese frosting is very soft, and if you frost the bars before they’re completely (COMPLETELY!!!) cool, you will end up with a messy cream cheese glaze. I know it’s hard, but wait to frost!