Pumpkin Bars

or My Favorite Thing My Wife Makes For Me That I Eat Too Much Of Too Quickly. But that title was too long, I thought.
Cream Cheese Icing
I do most of the cooking around hte house, but my wife does make a couple of things, and I let her. I’m not about to start making pumpkin bars and have her decide not to do them anymore… I’m a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them.
First Slice
The pumpkin bars themselves are from my wife’s grandmother, and they’re good, but my wife made them considerably better… by using butter! One truism I’ve discovered in life is that just about anything can be improved by adding one of two things: bacon and/or butter. Bacon in pumpkin bars wouldn’t quite fly, but these bars are right in the butter-improving zone.
Taking First Bite
The original recipe called for vegetable oil, but we were out, so she substituted, wisely, melted butter instead. Yum! The old recipe was fine, this and a few other slight changes really made a difference. Before this go around, the pumpkin bar part of the dessert was little more than a transport mechanism to get cream cheese icing to my taste buds. This time, the pumpkin bar is great on its own (but best with the cream cheese icing!). Ready for First Bite

Here’s the recipe for the bars:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Set the above mixture aside, then mix together:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cassia (cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 small can pumpkin (original recipe called for 1 1/3 cups, but she just used the whole can)

Once mixed, add the second mixture to the first.

Grease (or use Pam) a 9″X13″ pan, add the batter, and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees F.

First Bite
The pumpkin bars are done when the pass the toothpick test; stick a toothpick in the pumpkin bars, and, if it comes out clean, the bars are done.
So Rich I Need To Rest

If you like your bars a bit thinner, you can also halve the recipe.

The bars are only part of the whole, though. They would taste good with nothing more, but there’s a way to make them so much better. There are some things in life where one plus one equals more than two, and this is one of them. Cream cheese icing means that these bars rise above the combination of the ingredients to become a sublime part of autumn.
Second Bite

Cream cheese icing ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 lb butter (one stick), at room temperature
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix cream cheese and butter until thoroughly mixed, then slowly add the powdered sugar while continuing to mix. Add the vanilla at the end, and you’re all set!

Once the pumpkin bars are cooled at least enough so the pan can be handled, the icing can be put on top. Prior to my wife’s recipe changes, that would mean the bars would soon also be gone, but the use of the melted butter makes this just rich enough that I now have to pace myself!

She does a great job icing the bars, so I thought I’d end with a few shots showing how she ices the bars, as some people have problems getting the icing spread without messing up the bars. The offset icing spatula does help. These are so good, and really taste like the holiday season is here.

First Glop o' Icing
Just Getting Started
More Icing Please
Putting on Icing
Yea Cream Cheese Icing
Spreading Icing
Almost Iced

Now I’m off to have another pumpkin bar!

About Curt McAdams

I guess I'm a bit of a foodie, learning to cook from my mom, then getting obsessed with outdoor cooking, competition barbecue, bread baking and just about all things food. Lately, I've been trying to upgrade my photography skills a bit, though I still have a long way to go.


  1. These look wonderful! And with all that butter, how could they not be good! And the cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg make it even better :-)

  2. I want mine with icing, please! :)
    It looks delicious, Curt.

  3. Nicole, you’re right; some ingredients just tell you it’s going to taste great.

    Patricia, I have to confess that, when my wife makes cream cheese icing, I keep the leftovers for myself… Then I sneak a spoonful at a time until it’s all gone.

  4. Oooh I can’t wait to try this one!

  5. Michelle, you won’t be disappointed! I’m just glad my wife likes to bake this kind of stuff now and then.

  6. Looks de-lish! From your pictures, I can taste the cream cheese frosting.

  7. Darlene, it’s great stuff… It’s tough to beat cream cheese icing!

  8. Oh my gosh that looks so amazing. I could eat just the icing all day long!

  9. Kath, one thing about when my wife makes cream cheese icing is that I get anything that isn’t used … And there’s usually enough left over that I would make myself sick of I wasn’t careful.

  10. Hey! i just randomly found your website today and ended up making these pumpkin bars for company tonight. they are quick to make and everyone absolutely loved them! Thanks!

  11. meagan, I’m glad you liked them. They’re easy, but a great way to get cream cheese icing in my mouth!

  12. Hi, I would like to try this one out as it looks delish. However could you tell me how ounces is a small can of pumpkin? 16oz? Thanks!!

  13. June, I think the small can is 15 ozs. You can use a bit less if you’d like, too. Let me know how it turns out!

  14. FINALLY. All of my favorite brownies and bars are made with melted butter, but it’s very difficult to find a good one for pumpkin bars. This recipe has just the right moist, dense brownie/bar texture. And if you carefully brown your butter when you melt it (watching it closely to prevent burning) that step adds a wonderful, rich, caramel flavor to this recipe that is out of this world. Thanks again for sharing.

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