Pumpkin is the flavor of fall, and what better way to enjoy it than with a delicious dessert? The Pioneer Woman’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars are a delightful treat that combines the warm and comforting taste of pumpkin with the richness of cream cheese. These bars are perfect for autumn gatherings, potlucks, or just as a sweet indulgence for yourself. In this extended recipe, we’ll walk you through every step to make sure your bars turn out perfectly.
Ingredients:For the Pumpkin Layer:
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
For the Cream Cheese Layer:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat the Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan or line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang for easy removal.
Prepare the Pumpkin Layer: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, 1 cup of granulated sugar, vegetable oil, one egg, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until well combined.
Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift together 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice.
Mix the Batter: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
Cream Cheese Layer: In another bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, one egg, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat until the mixture is creamy and well combined.
Streusel Topping: In a small bowl, prepare the streusel topping by combining 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and cold, cubed unsalted butter. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to combine the ingredients until you have a crumbly texture. If desired, add chopped pecans for extra crunch.
Layer and Swirl: Pour two-thirds of the pumpkin batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Next, add the cream cheese mixture, spreading it out to cover the pumpkin layer. Finally, drop spoonfuls of the remaining pumpkin batter over the cream cheese layer.
Add Streusel: Sprinkle the prepared streusel topping over the entire surface of the bars.
Bake and Cool: Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the bars to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Chill and Cut: Once cooled, refrigerate the bars for at least 2 hours. This step helps the bars set properly and makes cutting easier. When ready to serve, use a sharp knife to cut them into squares.
Cook Notes and Variations:
For an extra autumn touch, you can sprinkle a bit of ground cinnamon or nutmeg over the bars before serving.
Customize the streusel topping by adding chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts for a delightful crunch.
Keto/Low-Carb Version: If you’re following a keto or low-carb diet, you can make a similar dessert using almond flour or coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour and a sugar substitute (like erythritol or stevia) in place of granulated sugar.
The Pioneer Woman Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars are a delightful autumn dessert that combines the best of both worlds – the richness of cream cheese and the warm flavors of pumpkin. With a crumbly streusel topping, these bars make for a perfect treat to share with family and friends during the fall season. Enjoy the cozy flavors of pumpkin spice in every bite!