Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Bars


Oatmeal and raisins were the mandatory ingredients for the October Improv Challenge. I usually have a couple of ideas in my mind, and I think them over for a few weeks before tackling my recipe of choice. Even though it is October, it is still so hot in my neck of the woods that I started out making oatmeal cookie ice cream. Every time I make ice cream I think it will be the last time for the year, but if it doesn't cool down soon I'll be making ice cream for Thanksgiving! Despite oatmeal and raisins bringing to mind warm, homey fall flavors in cookies and crisps, I forged ahead with my cool treat and successfully got the ice cream to taste like oatmeal cookie dough.  However, I wasn't quite able to master an oatmeal and raisin add-in that we liked, and kept mulling over ideas that could possibly make it work.

For a few days, about a week ago, we had some rain and clouds and real October weather, so I took advantage of that and decided to scrap the ice cream and go with a fall dessert. Boy Mimi loves anything pumpkin, so I decided to combine a family favorite with the challenge ingredients and came up with these pumpkin bars. They have a chewy cake-like base with a creamy pumpkin pie filling, and it is all topped with a crispy oatmeal-raisin streusel topping. It was a winning combination of cake, pumpkin pie, and oatmeal raisin cookies. Boy Mimi definitely approved and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the oatmeal raisin addition to these bars. Unfortunately we are now back to 90 degrees outside so I may have to revisit that ice cream recipe, but I know we will definitely be back to this recipe, oatmeal raisin crumb and all, in the coming cooler months. 

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Prepare a 9x13 pan by spraying with cooking spray or grease and flour.
Pre-heat oven to 350F

 2-1/2 cups sifted flour
 1 Tsp. salt
 1-1/2 cups sugar
 2 Tsp. double acting baking powder
 1/4 cup cold butter

Preparation: In a food processor combine flour, salt, suga,r and baking powder and mix well to blend. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the food processor bowl. Cover and process until mixture is very fine. Make sure that the butter is completely  and evenly distributed in the flour mixture. Remove 1 1/2 cups and reserve for topping. To remaining mix add:

 1/3 cup soft butter
 1 egg

 Pulse a few times until combined, but still crumbly. Press into prepared pan.


1 large can pumpkin or 28 ounces of fresh cooked and drained pumpkin
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
2/3 cups milk.

To the now empty food processor add all ingredients and process until  homogeneous, and pour over the crust.

To reserved crust mixture add:

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 soft butter
1/3 cup raisins

In a medium bowl mix all ingredients together to form a large crumb and sprinkle evenly over the filling mixture. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Cut and serve. 
printable recipe

Links: Foodie Friday

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

White Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles

According to the calendar, it's officially autumn, but the 90 degree heat says otherwise. As much as I would love to be roasting squash and baking pumpkin treats, I just can't make myself stand in the kitchen all day with the oven at full blast.

Despite the heat, I couldn't pass up the cans of pumpkin I saw at the store and I knew this recipe would be a great way to ease into fall flavors without too much time in a hot kitchen. These truffles have the spiced pumpkin flavor I was craving, with a little bit of crunch from the graham cracker crumbs and the white chocolate shell. they are easy and delicious, and most importantly, don't require hours in front of an oven!
I used some Halloween colored sprinkles here but I think with some red, orange, or gold dust on top these would make a pretty (and easy) addition to any Thanksgiving dessert display. I know it will be cool enough for pie baking by then, but a little twist on the traditional pumpkin pie is always fun too!

White Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles
adapted from healthy food for living

12 oz. good quality white chocolate
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch cloves
pinch allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
Seasonal sprinkles or edible decorations

12 silicone or foil lined mini muffin cups or other small silicone cups

Melt white chocolate  in the top of a double boiler over medium heat on the stove, stirring constantly until completely melted.  Remove from heat. Using a small spoon, place about 3/4 of a teaspoon of the melted chocolate in a reusable silicone mini cup or into a foil lined mini muffin cup, tilt the cups to swirl the chocolate to cover as much as possible. If necessary, use a paint brush to paint up the sides of the cups with extra chocolate. The chocolate should be thick enough that you can not see through it. You should have left over chocolate when all the cups are done.

Place the cups onto a tray and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until completely hardened.  Remove from freezer (and peel the silicone or papers off of the hardened shells, I did this when I was completely finished with the candies )

In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, spices and the vanilla, whisk or beat until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and whisk until combined.  Stir in the graham cracker crumbs

Using a small spoon, gently divide the mixture among the chocolate cups filling to just below the ridge. Smooth the tops to create an even surface.
Re-heat the remaining melted white chocolate if necessary.  Spoon a small amount of melted chocolate over the smoothed filling surfaces, making sure the chocolate reaches all the way to the edges to seal the cups.  Sprinkle with decorative seasonal sprinkles or edible decorations. (here is where I removed them from the silicon molds)

printable recipe

Foodie Friday