Pumpkin Bars

by Robyn on November 17, 2010

A cookie bar with a walnut crust and pumpkin filling topped with whipped cram and salted caramel walnuts

Mmm. Pumpkin bars.

I wanted something made with pumpkin that wasn’t pie. My pie is the best, however, it’s not very portable. So after talking with the youngest daughter I set out to make a pumpkin bar that would be portable and good, and be a bit different than most bars.

What I knew I wanted. A walnut crust. A less jiggly pumpkin top. And another element to give it dimension. First up the walnut crust. That was simple.

In a Cuisinart, or using a mortar and pestle, take 1.5 cups of English walnuts. Yes, those are the ones readily available in the stores, and grown in California. Add to it 1 cup of granulated sugar and three tablespoons of pastry flour. Mix well, mashing those walnuts to a paste. Now add 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted. Mix this all together and spoon into a tart pan, or a loaf pans lined with parchment paper. Press firmly down walnut mixture to 1/4 inch thick crust. Set aside. Pre-heat your oven to 350F.

For the pumpkin filling. You need:

1 large egg, and 1 egg yolk beat together. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat together.
Add in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of ginger. Mix again.
Add 1 small can of pure pumpkin (Libby’s, Libby’s Libby’s!). Mix well.
The last thing to add in is 1/3 can of sweetened condensed milk. Stir in and incorporate all ingredients. Pour over crust. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until done. Pumpkin should be firm to the touch.

Allow to cool completely. Placing in the fridge if you’re in a hurry.

While the bars are cooking. Grab a frying pan. On medium to high heat add 1 cup of walnuts, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, a scant teaspoon of sea salt and a 1/2 cup of sugar. Heat until sugar is melted and caramelizes. Mix well to coat walnuts. Add in 1/4 cup of heavy cream and stir quickly. Keep stirring and mix heavy cream in and caramel should come together quickly. pour onto to parchment lined baking sheet to cool. (if you have leftovers, they can be stored in a plastic container in the fridge)

When bars are cooled completely. Cut into wedges, or squares.

pumpkin bars, cooled and sliced. Ready for toppings.

A portable pumpkin pie treat! Pumpkin bars!

Top with whipped cream and salted caramel walnuts. Serve. These can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days if possible as mine disappeared within an hour. By cutting them into squares they are the perfect portable snack.

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November 17, 2010 at 10:53 am


Robyn November 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Thank you Lara! Yes, a great morning snack any time!! ;o)

Robyn November 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Thank you Pammy. They are a really portable snack. And, not all that fancy when you tweek it a bit. If I were sending it to school, I’d leave off the whipped cream and just add a few toasted and chopped walnuts to the top.

Robyn November 21, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Thank you. This little recipe was a collaboration with my youngest. She knew I wanted to make it portable but still like pie. It was her suggestion of using sweetened condensed milk that sealed the deal. It took sugar out of the recipe and still had the perfect sweetness.

Robyn November 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Hi Mac! Didn’t see your comment until just now! Thanks! It’s really good.

Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie November 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I like the way you wanted to make something pumpkin – but also something portable and a little more practical than pie. I have a feeling these will be amazingly good. It’s funny because from the picture they LOOK almost like pumpkin pie.

Mac November 19, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Wow! Need to add your recipe to my “check this out” list! It’s so much fun to see your bars in the shape of pie slice. And that crust! Perfect for so many recipes. A great addition to a pumpkin cheesecake, too!!
Wonderfully luscious photo!

My Man's Belly November 18, 2010 at 10:25 am

These look like they’d be perfect to send to school with the kids or for a bake sale. A bit fancy, but still very portable.

Lara Alexander November 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I love how they still look like pie wedges! This would make a great Thanksgiving late morning snack.

Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle November 17, 2010 at 10:36 am

I’ve seen so many recipes for pumpkin this and pumpkin that but I think this is pumpkin have to have. Today. All my favorites from a crust with walnuts to the topping. Score!

Paula November 17, 2010 at 10:25 am

Talk about dying and going to walnut heaven! These bars look and sound delicious. Putting walnuts in the crust and then making that carmelized walnut topping…Wow! The addition of sweetened condensed milk to the pumpkin filling most likely takes this bar over the top in taste. Thanks so much for sharing.

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