Monday, September 28, 2015

Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
I made these pumpkin bars for 100% unselfish reasons.

I made them for Michael's boss, my brother, and you.
Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
See....I may have mentioned it before but Michael and I pretty much despise all things fall. We do not like this season. And one of those things includes people pumpkin-ing all the things. Mind you, I enjoy a nice piece of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving but aside from pumpkin for me, thanks.

But then Michael's new boss made a request. And my brother (who is leeeaving for the airforce in a couple months!) was all "oooh yeah!" and I thought to myself..."The readers will want this."

So I did it.

I made these. You're welcome everybody.
Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
First let me explain what I made. These are a spiced pumpkin sugar cookie bar (which I made even more pumpkin-y with the addition of pumpkin spice flavored butter that I had) that are then frosted with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting (which I, again, amped up with that pumpkin butter).

Since-like I mentioned-these bars weren't really up mine or Michael's alleys I'll give you the impressions from other people (although I will confess that I tried-and liked-the frosting. It was a nice amount of sweet without being too much):

Josh: "I was expecting them to be gooey but I really like them-the pumpkin flavor is just enough."

Michael's coworkers: Well....they disappeared in like 5 minutes flat. And one of them said he really liked the texture and flavor and that the ratio of frosting to bar was perfect-nothing overpowered anything else. (I will note that Michael's coworker Angela said the frosting was too "cream cheesy" but the aforementioned fellow told her she was insane. with that as you will.)


I dunno, just guessing :P

Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Cookie bars adapted from A Kitchen Addiction and frosting from Joy the Baker Cookbook

Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes one 9x9 or 8x8 pan.
Cookie Bars-
  • ½ cup (or 1 stick or 8 tbsp.) butter, room temperature (I used Epicurean Butter's Pumpkin Spice for a bit of extra pumpkin flavor, but regular butter works fine as well!)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp. pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened/room temperature
  • ½ cup (or 1 stick or 8 tbsp.) butter, softened/room temperature (I used Epicurean Butter's Pumpkin Spice again but you can use regular!)
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. molasses
  • pinch of salt
  • 1¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cookie Bars-
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Lightly spray a 9"x9" or 8"x8" inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with an electric hand mixer), cream together butter and sugar. 
  • Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract until creamy.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together flour, cream of tartar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Press dough into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges and the middle seems cooked through. Move pan to a wire rack to cool completely (will probably take a couple hours).
  • While bars are cooling, prepare frosting.
  • With an electric mixer (stand mixer with paddle attachment or a hand mixer is fine, too) beat cream cheese for about 1 minute, until soft.
  • Scrape sides of bowl and add the butter-beat on medium speed for about 1 minute, until combined.
  • Beat in brown sugar and molasses for about 30 seconds.
  • On low, mix in the sugar and salt, and then the vanilla until just barely combined. 
  • Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat on medium speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is soft and smooth. 
  • Spread over cooled bars. Cut into pieces (for an easier time cutting and serving, you may want to refrigerate to allow the frosting to firm up a bit).
  • Store leftover cookie bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up 2 or 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
Pumpkin Cookie Bars with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
They're pretty and smell good, I'll give you that.

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