I was blessed to grow up with a mom who was a good cook! I learned how to “improvise” from her and create my own recipes, I am so thankful for the confidence she modeled in the kitchen! My mom cooked, but baking was a rare thing (she does it much more now). When she did bake it seemed so special. The only pumpkin thing I remember her baking was pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting and I LOVED them.
A few years ago I “discovered” baking with pumpkin and ever since then I can’t stop. I start in the fall and go until my husband says it’s enough, usually right after Christmas. Last year I realized I had never made my own batch of what started my love of pumpkin so I asked my mom for the recipe. She pulled out the original copy she got from a friend in 1983 in Naknak, Alaska! Today I share it with you!
These bars are simple, better when made ahead of time (who doesn’t love that?), and one batch feeds a lot of people! I think the reason I love this recipe so much is the simplicity of it. The pumpkin flavor and the rich cream cheese frosting, when chilled, is a perfect combination! Make sure you serve these bars cold, they are so much better. I usually make a batch, store it in the refrigerator, and use it over the next 3-5 days. They last so much longer than a pie when you have a lot of people gathered.
The holiday season is full of hosting and lots of family and friends, make these for for one of your festive gathers soon!
Mom’s Pumpkin Bars
- 4 eggs
- 1 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
- 2 cups pureed pumpkin (or 1 16oz. can)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
- 6 Tbs. butter, at room temp
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, or a stand mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until fluffy.
In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.
Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix to combine.
Spread the batter in a large bar pan, about 15×10 inches. Bake until light brown around the edges and set in the middle 24-28 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
When the bars are cooled frost and then refrigerate until cold, at least a few hours. Served chilled.
To make the frosting:
In the bowl of your stand mixer, or with a hand held electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and powdered sugar until fluffy.
Frost the bars, refrigerate, and slice before serving.