Instead of pumpkin pie this season, try my pumpkin streusel bars. With a gingersnap crust and brown sugar streusel topping, everyone will want seconds.
Pumpkin season is in full swing and while I have yet to bake a traditional pumpkin pie this season, I’ve made enough cupcakes to clean my grocery store’s pumpkin supply out.
In addition to pumpkin cupcakes, I made this nutella swirled pumpkin pie over the weekend. Because if there’s any way to mess with traditional pumpkin pie, it’s with nutella swirls and gingersnap cookies. I also made today’s pumpkin bars.
It was a very merry pumpkin weekend, yes.
Today’s pumpkin streusel bars are the epitome of dessert bars. And you 1,000% percent have got to try them. Let me explain why: first, you have a snappy (couldn’t help myself) gingersnap crust. I freakin’ love gingersnap cookies. There’s nothing like biting into a soft gingersnap molasses cookie, but for this crust – you’ll need the crunchy kind. Crunchy, hard gingersnap cookies. I admit, I bought a box of them from the store.
Don’t want to use store-bought gingersnaps? Feel free to make a graham cracker crust instead. Just as tasty. A graham cracker crust is what I use for the pumpkin bar recipe in my cookbook. Try those next.
Butter, gingersnap cookies, a little sugar. All good things in this crust.
Second. The middle layer is both pie and cheesecake. (!!!)
Spiced pumpkin pie meets creamy, thick cheesecake. I like to add cream cheese to this layer not only to get that cheesecake taste, but to give the center some structure. I tested this recipe twice and felt the bars were slightly disappointing without the cream cheese. The filling was a little… loose. That sounds horribly disgusting and guess what? It was. The cream cheese is the crème de la crème of the middle layer. You will love how creamy the filling is– the perfect contrast to the crunchy crust and crumbly streusel topping.
Speaking of. The third reason you have to try today’s pumpkin dessert? All that crumbly, brown sugar streusel! I’m all about streusel. I use the exact same streusel that sits atop my beloved apple pie bars. And now would be a good time to encourage you to make both those apple pie bars and today’s pumpkin bars. At the same time. I love fall.
The bottom line is this: these pumpkin streusel bars are exactly the kind of pumpkin dessert that you need to try and that everyone will love.
Pumpkin Streusel Bars
Instead of pumpkin pie this season, try my pumpkin streusel bars. With a gingersnap crust and brown sugar streusel topping, everyone will want seconds!
- 1 and 1/4 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (use crunchy gingersnap cookies and grind in processor - I prefer Nabisco or Trader Joe's brand)
- 2 Tablespoons (23g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted
- 8 ounces (225g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/4 cups (285g) pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
- 1/3 cup (80g) plain Greek yogurt, regular yogurt, or sour cream2
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon EACH ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground ginger3
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
- Make the crust: Mix the cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter together in a medium bowl until combined. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. The crust will be thick. Bake the crust for 10 minutes as you prepare the filling.
- Turn oven up to 350°F (177°C).
- Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a large bowl on high speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. On low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. On medium speed, beat the vanilla, pumpkin, yogurt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger in. Continue beating until everything is combined and creamy. Pour the filing into the warm crust. Set aside.
- Make the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over filling.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bars with aluminum foil around the 30 minute mark. The foil prevents the top from getting too brown. The bars are done when the edges are lightly browned and the center is set-- this could be slightly before or after the 40 minute mark. Allow to cool in the pan set on a wire rack at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 3 additional hours - or overnight. Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I usually cut them into 16 smaller bars, but you can cut them into 12 larger bars. Drizzle bars with glaze or top with whipped cream if desired.
- Make ahead tip: The bars stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Then, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving and glazing.
- A graham cracker crust would be just as tasty as the gingersnap. Try this graham cracker crust recipe.
- For the yogurt/sour cream - I always use low fat for these bars; full fat would be just fine. Try to avoid fat free - you can taste the difference.
- Instead of these spices, you can use 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
Larger batch: You can easily double this recipe to feed a crowd! Double the ingredients, pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes in a 9x13 pan, and bake the bars at 325F for roughly 55 minutes, give or take. Keep your eye on them after 45 minutes.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction Cookbook Spiced Pumpkin Bars
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See more pumpkin recipes. There’s certainly a lot of them!
Here are my salted caramel apple pie bars for you to try next.