This pumpkin bar recipe is not only going to become a seasonal favorite, it’s one you’ll want to make year- round. And that won’t be a problem with pure canned pumpkin which makes a wonderfully moist bar.
You could use fresh pumpkin, but it tends to make a watery puree and surprisingly, has less pumpkin flavor than the canned variety.
Although the canned pumpkin purée produces a wet, heavy batter, the bars are unbelievably light. And the frosting is phenomenal! Cream cheese frosting is a traditional finish to pumpkin bars, but adding a little white chocolate really kicks things up a notch. And do make the cranberry garnish — it’s an easy, pretty way to dress up these bars.
Makes 36 bars
Total time: 45 minutes + cooling
FOR THE BARS, WHISK:
- 1 cup each granulated sugar and packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 can pumpkin purée (15 oz.)
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. each baking powder and ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. each table salt and baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. each ground ginger, cloves, and nutmeg
FOR THE FROSTING, MELT:
- 4 oz. white bar chocolate, chopped
- 11/2 pkg. cream cheese, softened (12 oz.)
- 11/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (12 Tbsp.)
- 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup crystallized ginger
- 1/4 cup pecan pieces
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Coat an 111/2 ×161/2-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray.
- For the bars, whisk together granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, pumpkin purée, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg into pumpkin mixture; whisk to combine.
- Spread batter onto prepared baking sheet.
- Bake bars until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer baking sheet to a rack and cool bars completely before frosting.
- For the frosting, melt white chocolate in a microwave until smooth, 1–2 minutes.
- Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer on high speed until smooth.
- Add melted chocolate and beat to combine.
- Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until smooth.
- Spread frosting over cooled bars.
- For the garnish, chop cranberries, ginger, and pecans until minced. Top bars with garnish and cut.