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Pumpkin Pie Bars

Pumpkin is upon us.

It’s a fact friends.  Deal with it.

I went a little pumpkin crazy at the store this week.  Something comes over me when the seasons change.  Because I live in a city where the weather insists on staying virtually the same temperature all year round, and the palm trees know nothing of seasonal changes, I feel like I’m forced to express the change of season in very outward, often very expensive ways.

When early October hits, and the hint of a cool night beckons me to turn my bedroom fan off, inevitably, the next day I’m out shopping for scarves, tights, knee high boots, and yes….. pumpkin.

We had a chilly night this past weekend (I’m talking low 60’s) which prompted me to take out my winter coat (yes I have one, and it’s fantastic).  This also prompted me to go on a pumpkin bender at the grocery store.

I’m giving you the heads up.  It’s pumpkin time people.  Are you with me?

Consider this pumpkin recipe as your Fall lemon bar.  Think of this pumpkin recipe as reason not to have to roll out a pie crust.  Think of this pumpkin recipe when you want a nip from the Bourbon bottle while you’re baking.  Is that a crime?  I think not.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

adapted from Kraft

Print this Recipe!

1-1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup  granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup  (1-1/2 sticks) cold butter or margarine
1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1/2 cup  chopped walnuts
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
3   eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 Tbsp.  pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons bourbon (optional)
a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips for sprinkling on top (optional)

HEAT oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; grease foil. Mix flour, 1/4 granulated sugar and brown sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats and nuts.

RESERVE 1 cup oat mixture; press remaining onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min. Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla, bourbon, pumpkin and spice with mixer until well blended. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips (if desired).

BAKE 25 min.; cool 10 min. Use foil to transfer dessert from pan to wire rack; cool completely.

Can’t find pumpkin pie spice? Simply mix 1 tsp. each ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and allspice, then use as directed.