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Pumpkin Bars

Fall is here (most of you “fell back” last night… we don’t have daylight savings in AZ so no extra hour here). As with every fall, pumpkin is everywhere – lattes, scones, muffins… and now – bars! Mmmmm sweet, tasty, delicious pumpkin. BF’s not huge on pumpkin (or so he thinks), even though he loves pumpkin pie, doesn’t mind my pumpkin bread, and devours these pumpkin bars.

Anyone who has been in Williams Sonoma in the fall knows about these pumpkin bars.

Sometimes I drop by WS just to see if they have these samples out. These are one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make. The trick to the bars’ complex flavor is using pumpkin butter instead of pumpkin puree. Some might call that “cheating”, but I call it genius. Besides, it’s not the only “cheating” taking place here, we’re also going to use…..

YELLOW CAKE MIX (gasp!)  Madness, I know.

The recipe at WS uses their very own Muirhead pumpkin butter (of course), but at $10.95 a jar, who wants to buy that? Don’t get me wrong, the stuff is delicious, but $10.95 is a little steep…  and what happens if you don’t have a WS near you (you poor soul, you)? Any pumpkin butter should do, just make sure you get the right amount in there – 13.5 ounces (-ish).

Though the recipe claims these are “dessert bars”, they’ve been enjoyed just as much as a “coffee cake” replacement. Whatever you do this fall, you simply must make these, they’re de-lish. Don’t let the box cake mix scare you away… I promise you won’t regret it…

First, place all but 1 cup of the cake mix into a medium bowl

Stir in 1/2 cup of melted butter and 1 egg until it’s thoroughly mixed, then press into the bottom of a prepared 9 x 13-inch pan.

In a separate bowl (or the same bowl, rinsed, if you’re not into wasting dishes like yours truly) mix the jar of pumpkin butter with two eggs and milk. Pour mixture over the cake mix.

Combine the reserved cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, softened butter, and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly. I find the best way to do this is with my (gloved) hands. Get in there real good and just keep smooshing (yes, that’s the technical term) the butter until it’s evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Sprinkle over the pumpkin butter layer and bake at 350F for 35 – 40 minutes until golden brown. After cooled, cut into squares and enjoy these bite size pumpkin treats. Take them to work to bribe your coworkers, give them to your neighbors as a holiday gift, or feed them to your significant other to make them too fat to run away from you …. Ignore that last part.

Pumpkin Dessert (or Breakfast) Squares

  • 1 package yellow cake mix; set aside one cup
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 1 (13.5 oz) jar pumpkin butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350° F.

  1. Divide yellow cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl. Stir in the melted butter and one egg until well mixed. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan.
  2. Mix the jar of pumpkin butter with remaining two eggs and milk. Pour pumpkin mixture over the cake mix layer.
  3. Whisk reserved 1 cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add softened butter and cut in with fork, pastry cutter, or your hands until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the pumpkin layer.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

By Natalie Purcel

Natalie is respected in the recipe blogosphere not only for her mouthwatering kitchen creations on her personal blog Wee Eats, but for her attractive photography that always seem to gather quite the impressive social media audience.

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