This snack made our Super Bowl super. I had baked these bars on Saturday but advised Hubby we had to wait until the game kickoff on Sunday to dine on them so they could be official. That was not easy for Hubby, but he knows the drill and obliged.
I had some dried cranberries left over from Christmas baking. And of course I have my ready supply of pumpkin puree packed away from the pumpkins that grew in our garden way-late in the year. I have the puree stored in small, recipe-friendly portions in the freezer.
These bars were just delicious. Love the marriage of pumpkin and cranberry in these squares. I confess I was a pre-game couch potato and took the easy route on the frosting: I opened a container of (Betty Crocker-brand) ready-made cream-cheese frosting and used it to spread on the bars. Very yummy.
I believe we picked a winner; Hubby called for an instant replay. He suggested we not wait until next year’s Super Game to try them again.
1 cup pecans
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons granulated white sugar (or sugar substitute)
fresh pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the rack in the center of the oven. Place the pecans on a baking sheet; bake for about 8-10 minutes or until pecans are lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven; cool completely; then coarsely chop the pecans. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch-by-9-inch pan.
In the bowl of your electric mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract; beat until incorporated. Beat in the pumpkin puree until incorporated (at this point the batter may look curdled). Gradually add the flour mixture; mix only until it is combined. Stir in the chopped toasted pecans and dried cranberries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan; bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bars emerges clean. Remove from oven; place pan on a wire rack to cool. When the baked item is cool, cut into 16 (2-inch square) bars. For frosting, beat the whipping cream and cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add sugar to taste. Spoon a bit of cream cheese on top of each bar. Top with fresh pumpkin seeds (I used chopped pecans). (Source: joyofbaking.com)