I told Morgan on Saturday night that it was pumpkin time, and there was nothing he could do about it.
We went to dinner and a play, and afterward we went by Harris Teeter. I’ve had a beef with Harris Teeter for a long time; we used to live next to one when we were in the DC area. For three years I would walk in to the store around this time of year with pumpkin on my mind… just a regular 15 oz can of Libby’s pumpkin. You would think that at the end of September and throughout October and November that pumpkin would be a grocery store staple… but you would be wrong.
Last year when this had happened for the third time in a row, I finally did something I never do and wrote a fussy letter to customer service. They apologized and said they had it now, but when I went back in that day there was none to be found and no one knew why. I can’t believe I was so stupid as to go back to a Harris Teeter this year, even if it was in a completely different city. Sure enough they had no Libby’s canned pumpkin. A helpful employee did take me to some organic canned pumpkin which, while $2-3 more expensive, at least they had something.
So I pulled out a recipe I made last year from Joy the Baker – Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie Bars. I thought I would love these bars when I made them last year, but I realized that I don’t much care for butterscotch, and I just wasn’t feeling the pumpkin and butterscotch combination especially.
I found the original recipe that Joy modeled hers off of – Pumpkin Pie Bars from Kraft Foods. I used non-fat cream cheese (I really don’t think you can taste the difference because there are so many other delicious things going on) and took out the pecan topping because I’m a pumpkin purist. I also took out a little bit of the granulated sugar – I love the granola bottom but I don’t think it needs to be quite so sweet. The result was a crunchy granola bottom, with pumpkin pie-like filling and topped with more granola. Pumpkin pie without dealing with pie dough. Please make this, and please send me some.
Granola Pumpkin Pie Bars
adapted from Kraft Foods
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 package (8 oz.) non-fat cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and allspice.
dash of cloves
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil (leaving some extra hanging out that can act as handles) and grease the lining.
Combine flour, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats. Reserve 1 cup of this mixture and set aside; press the remaining into the bottom of the lined pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes (my oven runs a little hot I think, so I did it for 12).
Beat softened cream cheese, remaining granulated sugar, eggs, pumpkin and spices in a small bowl with an electric mixer (or in a stand mixer) on medium speed until well blended. Pour over crust and sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes. Carefully lift from the pan using foil handles and cool completely. Cut into approximately 24 bars to serve.