I have kept this recipe for pumpkin pie bars on my bookmarks bar for quite some time, and what better time to finally make them than during finals week of school? bake, blog, research paper. yes, of course in that order. But these bars were what I wanted all along. The pumpkin filling is a little tangy from the cream cheese, and not too sweet. The shortbread crust is just like the crust of a lemon or raspberry bar.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter
1 cup oats (old-fashioned or quick-cooking)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
8 oz cream cheese, softened
15 0z (1 can) pumpkin purée
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp bourbon (optional)
a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips (optional)
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over the sides, and grease the foil.
mix the flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in medium bowl. cut in the butter with a pastry blender or using 2 knives, until the mixture resembles course crumbs. stir in oats and walnuts.
reserve one cup of the crumb mixture. press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. bake for 15 minutes. beat softened cream cheese with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and eggs. add vanilla, bourbon, pumpkin and spice and beat until well blended. pour over crust and sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and if desired, with a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips (i left these out).
bake 25 minutes. cool for 10 min and then use foil to transfer from the pan to a wire rack. cool completely.
makes 15 bars.