Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

Now that the temperatures are cooler, I've been craving pumpkin.  I've even been drinking pumpkin flavored coffee.  I planned to make something for our family birthday party on Sunday, so I knew I wanted to make something pumpkin.  I'm not really a pumpkin pie person, so I was in search of a bread, brownie or something along those lines.  I began scouring the internet for something that looked yummy and easy.  This is what I decided to try:

Recipe source:

Pumpkin batter ingredients:
6 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
1/4 teapsoon salt (omit this if you used salted butter)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup water
1-3/4 cups all-pupose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Swirl batter ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees f.   Grease a 9x13 pan. 

Here's a tip:  We use real butter in our home.  When I put a new stick of butter in the butter dish, I will place the butter wrapper in a ziplock bag and put it in the refrigerator for use later.  Instead of using cooking sprays, I will pull out one of those butter wrappers and use it to prepare my baking dish.  It's inexpensive and just as effective as a cooking spray.  Usually one of those wrappers has enough butter on it to cover a 9x13 dish.

Prepare your pumpkin batter by creaming the butter and sugar together.  Next, whisk in the eggs, pumpkin and water until it's blended well.  Scrape down the sides as needed.  Now, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and nutmet together and stir into the batter.  Pour all but a few tablespoons of the pumpkin batter in your prepared baking dish.

In a second bowl, prepare your swirl batter. Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  I used a block of softened cream cheese, and noticed that I still had lumps in my batter.  So, I think the next time I make this, I will use the whipped cream cheese.  I did manage to get it much less lumpy than what is depicted below.

Now it's time to add the egg.  Here's where things broke down at my house.  I don't have a separate kitchen pantry, so my flour is stored on an upper shelf in my kitchen cabinets since I don't use it every day.  I'm short, so I used a kitchen chair to get the flour out of the upper cabinet.  When I sat the flour jar on the countertop, I heard a crunch and saw that I had set it on the bag of butter wrappers.  Okay, no big deal.  However, when I looked for the egg to add to the swirl batter, this is what I found.  Shoot!

So, I grab another egg out of the fridge and set it on the counter, turned to get another towel to clean up the mess, and this happened.

By this time, my boys were rolling with laughter.  Gabriel actually felt the need to document the fact that an egg did finally make it into the swirl batter.

Now, using a spoon drop the swirl batter on top of the pumpkin mixture, then use a knife to drag through the batter to make the swirl.  Next, drop the reserved pumpkin on top.  The reason for this is that there is a lot of white swirl batter, so putting a few tablespoons of pumpkin back on top, adds more contrast.

Bake on the center rack for approximately 30 minutes or until the batter springs back.  Let it cool completely, and then chill for an hour or more before slicing.  The recipe makes approximately 24 bars.
I have to apologize for the ugly picture of the finished product.  I had 2 little boys that were bugging me to death to try this.  So, it didn't get to cool completely, much less chill for an hour.  I'm sure once it's chilled, you'll be able to make much neater slices.  However, I had 4 little hands trying to grab this plate while I was taking pictures so I wasn't able to spend the time to set up a "pretty picture."  Sorry.

Gabe and Bitsy were so tired of laughing and helping me, they just slumped down on the couch for a quick rest.  Gabe is good taste tester and picture taker, and Bitsy is an awesome spill licker upper.  LOL!  I think Travis, the miniature dachshund, was a little concerned about all of the chaos, so he was under a blanket on the couch to be safe. 

When I woke up Sunday morning, Garrett had already eaten more pumpkin bars.  He said he couldn't help it, "they are soooo goooood."   So, I packaged up the remainder of the bars, and put them with the birthday presents, my camera, etc., so we would remember to take them Sunday.  Guess what?  Everything made it to my grandmother's except.....  yup, these pumpkin bars.  They said, "we didn't see them."  Whatever..... I think that was a deliberate oversight.

I think this recipe is definitely a keeper.  I hope you enjoy them as much as my boys did. 

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