I finally was able to score some canned pumpkin over here in Germany from our Posts’ commissary. I struck it rich and found a whole shelf fully stocked, hadn’t been touched yet. So I proceeded to take 7 cans : ) hehe That’s how you have to do it around here- it’s like running into a goldmine when you find some. In my excitement I wanted to come up with a really fun, different kind of pumpkin recipe. Something that deviates from the ordinary pumpkin-cream cheese cake or pumpkin spice muffin. Enter- Ooey Gooey Caramel Pumpkin Bars.
Originally I found this recipe and they were called blondies, but after making them I made the executive decision to change the name. I felt like it was slightly misleading. When you think blondie you think half brownie/half cookie texture, right? Well, if you’ve ever made pumpkin cookies before you know how hard it is to find a recipe that doesn’t come out at least slightly cakey. Real hard to get that signature chew when using pumpkin because of all it’s moisture content. My point being that these bars come out thin and cakey, not chewy like a blondie. But still! Very, verrry good.
This is why these bars are so much fun- the layers. First, you spread a thin layer of half the pumpkin batter along the bottom of the pan. Then you sprinkle on just enough chocolate chips to taste but not take over the dish, about 1/4 cup.
And to simplify things, you make a caramel out of individually wrapped caramel candies, melted together with some heavy cream.
I always do this in a bowl over simmering water, but you can also use the microwave, stirring and heating at intervals.
The caramel gets spread over the chocolate and the rest of the pumpkin batter is dolloped and spread across the top.
I didn’t divide the batter properly and ended up struggling to stretch the batter enough to cover the caramel.
In this case, I really think it would have been best to simply have made a swirl, but instead I just had the thinest layer on top.
I made these for a church fellowship luncheon. They were ALL gone before the end and I had tons of people telling me how great they were. I was really pleased with how they were received by the crowd. It’s always disappointing when you bring something to one of those get-togethers and your dish is only slightly touched. I’ve found that it helps to label what you bring though. People are far more likely to eat something when they know what it is. TRUE- I’ve tested this theory haha.
Heads up too- this bar is at its’ very best the day it’s made. It’s cakey, so it isn’t as moist and delicious the next day. I know this because that’s how I served them- the next day. I had a serving myself the day they were made and the next day ones weren’t nearly as good. But you do want to give them plenty of time to cool otherwise you will have a huge pool of caramel. Oh and did I mention how the caramel kind of soaks into the cakey pumpkin layer? Yeah, realllllllly good.
Do you think this one bar has enough plates?
- FOR THE BARS:
- ¾ cups Butter, Softened
- 1 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
- 2 whole Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoons Nutmeg
- 1-¾ cup All-purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoons Salt
- FOR THE FILLING:
- ½ cups Chopped Walnuts, optional
- ¼ cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 14 ounces Caramels, Unwrapped (1 Bag)
- ¼ cups Heavy Cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan with non stick cooking spray or prepare with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in eggs, vanilla and pumpkin until combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the batter. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly to ensure a smooth batter. Spread about ⅔ of the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- For the filling: Sprinkle nuts and chocolate chips over top of the batter.
- Place caramels and cream into a heat-proof bowl. Microwave on high until caramel is smooth and completely melted, being sure to stir every 20 seconds. Stop as soon as it’s melted and smooth.
- Pour melted caramel over chocolate and nuts. Spread around evenly with a butter knife or spoon. Place dollops of the remaining batter over the top of the caramel layer. Spread those dollops out to try and get a smooth layer of batter over top. (It’s fine if some of the caramel layer is peeking through.) Feel free to swirl if you’d like instead.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are golden.
- Cool completely before serving. Or be prepared to get a whole lot of oozing caramel if you serve it warm. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for a special treat!
adapted from Lauren’s Latest