Pumpkin Cinnamon-Cardamom Bars Reprise

Autumn in Milwaukee

In case you missed this post from a few years back. These are the most amazing pumpkin bars, if I do say so myself.

It’s Fall, Y’all!

Went out for a contemplative walk, but kept getting distracted by nature. First the trees with their distracting oranges and reds and yellows against the sky-blue sky. And the slightly deeper blue of Lake Michigan in the background. And the crunch, crunch, kick, crunch, flutter of the leaves underfoot. And the sunshine which made the day look like it should feel warmer, but instead simply verified what the trees know: Fall is here.

And so it’s time for Pumpkin Cinnamon-Cardamom Bars.

Baking them results in aromatherapy of the highest order. Happiness guaranteed.

And yes, I know that they are more cakey than bar-like, but they’re called bars anyway.

I’ve been baking these for-almost-ever. And tweaking them a bit over the years. The original recipe included 1 cup of oil, so I experimented with half oil, half applesauce. It works, but makes the texture a little gummy. So I tried this version with 1/4 cup applesauce. Thumbs up. (You can skip the applesauce and use 1 cup of oil, if there’s no applesauce in the house.)

The spices are subject to your whim or your pantry. I’ve been loving cardamom lately so I added some. Sometimes I include a dash of cloves and/or ginger. But always, always cinnamon.

The frosting is barely sweet, the way I like it. Oh, and I almost always add pecans. But you’ll notice there are none in the photo. That’s because I was entertaining someone with nut allergies. They were still good (but even better with pecans!)

Pumpkin Bars Minus the Pecans

Pumpkin-Cinnamon-Cardamom Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup chopped pecans (divided)(skip if you’re not a nut person)
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe, below)
Generous sprinkling of cinnamon and/or cardamom

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar, oil and applesauce.
3. In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix until combined. Stir in ¾ cup chopped pecans. Spread batter evenly in a 15x10x1-inch pan (jelly roll pan).
4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Top with Cream Cheese Frosting. Sprinkle with cinnamon and/or cardamom. Top with remaining ¼ cup chopped pecans. Makes 24 bars.

Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat together 8-ounces softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla until creamy. Add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, a bit at a time, beating until smooth.

If you have any left, store in the fridge.

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