Crazy for Crust

Sep 01

Pumpkin Toffee Gooey Bars

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These Pumpkin Toffee Gooey Bars are my favorite Gooey Bar yet! Pumpkin, spices, and toffee make these the best Fall dessert!

Pumpkin Toffee Gooey Bars | | #pumpkin #toffee

Some random thoughts I’ve had in my head the last few days:

1. Jordan is going to have to do a biography report this Spring. My immediate first thought: she’s going to want to choose Hannah Montana. It’ll be named “A Miley Cyrus Biography: Twerking for Tweens.”

2. Never go to Costco on a Friday at lunch time. I know this, yet my brain refuses to allow me to get there before 11am.

3. When you’re at Costco at 11am on a Friday, be sure to leave your cart in the center of the major throughway so you can go peruse the sausage samples. I’ll wait for you, no problem.

4. I’m excited that Tuesday will be “after Labor Day” because that means Watch What Happens Live will be back on. I miss my Andy!

5. Big Bang Theory is one of the best shows EVER. If you’ve never watched it, start.

6. I’m updating my About page, and I added a Behind the Blog page and Baking FAQ page. What do you want to know that I haven’t already told you?

7. It’s September, one of my favorite months. And since we are officially out of August I can now shove pumpkin in your face an average of once a week until November 30. So there.

Pumpkin Toffee Gooey Bars | | #pumpkin #toffee

You knew it was only a matter of time before I made Pumpkin Gooey Bars right? I mean, the wild success of my Funfetti Gooey Bars (I so did not see that one coming) has made it so that I will make every flavor of Gooey Bar I possibly can.

I might have to say – these are my favorite so far. I know I said that after the chocolate ones, and the peanut butter ones, but these are seriously the best.

These are Fall in a bite, and I want it to be Fall so bad I ate lots of bites in case it would make it be here sooner. (Seriously, still forecast 90s this week. I’m so over it.)

Pumpkin Toffee Gooey Bars | | #pumpkin #toffee

As usual, these start with a cake mix. Instead of using butter, I used pumpkin puree. The bars are layered with sweetened condensed milk, toffee bits, and pecans.

They bake up seriously gooey. You can tell that from the photos, and in this case gooey = good.

Pumpkin Toffee Gooey Bars | | #pumpkin #toffee

Okay, that’s it. I’m headed to the freezer where I hid the rest of these bars.

What random is happening in your life right now?

Pumpkin Toffee Gooey Bars

Yield: 12 bars


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (I use fat-free)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” square pan with foil and spray liberally with cooking spray.
  2. Mix cake mix, pumpkin, egg, pumpkin pie spice, and flour with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Batter will be gooey.
  3. Press half the batter into the prepared pan. I found it easier to spray my hands with cooking spray before pressing so the batter wouldn’t stick to my hands.
  4. Sprinkle pecans and toffee bits over the top of the bottom layer. Pour sweetened condensed milk over evenly over the nuts and toffee bits. Tip: spray your measuring cup with cooking spray, then pour the sweetened condensed milk into the cup. It will pour out easier. Note: you can transfer any leftover milk to a small sealable container and freeze until you need it again.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining dough evenly over the top of the bars. Spray your hands again and press gently to evenly cover.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes, until they are golden around the edges. Cool completely before slicing. (I often refrigerate them for a few hours before cutting.)

Funfetti Gooey Bars

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

pumpkin-coffee-cake (3 of 5)w

Sweets from Friends:
Picky Eater Pumpkin Bars by Love From The Oven
Pumpkin Funnel Cakes by Something Swanky
Pumpkin Pudding Monster Cookies by The Domestic Rebel

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114 Responses to “Pumpkin Toffee Gooey Bars”

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks posted on September 1, 2013 at 2:05 am (#)

    Box of cake mix , 1 egg, and a can of sweetened cond milk can do no wrong. That was pretty much my blog for most of 2011 I think. Lol

    I love that you worked in pumpkin. And toffee! So good!

    And Costco. I quit my membership b/c I cannot handle the parking, the crowds, and the whole scene. More power to you for braving it!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 1st, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks Averie! I’m at that point. I need to start going to Sam’s instead, no one goes there, which is funny since Walmart is always mobbed.


  2. Susan posted on September 1, 2013 at 4:09 am (#)

    Let the Pumpkin season begin! These look absolutely yummy:-D


  3. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet posted on September 1, 2013 at 5:10 am (#)

    These pumpkins bars look fantastic! Love that you added the toffee to them!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 1st, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks Nancy! I could live on toffee. :)


  4. Tieghan posted on September 1, 2013 at 5:47 am (#)

    Oh these bars!! I love them! Hooray for September and Fall foods!! These look good and awesome. Plus, I love the toffee!!

    I am so excited about your new updated pages and the new behind the scenes page! I am head to check those out now!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 1st, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks Tieghan!! I can’t wait to see what you make for Fall!


  5. Kathy posted on September 1, 2013 at 7:24 am (#)

    i’m so excited about baking this fall! It is one of my favorite seasons! And these bars look incredible!


  6. Julie @ This Gal Cooks posted on September 1, 2013 at 8:43 am (#)

    I am so ready for fall, Dorothy. I already have my fall decorations up and I’ve already made two fall recipes!

    I love these pumpkin bars. YUM! Pumpkin season and fall are my FAVORITE times of the year!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 1st, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      I need to get on the decorations! Soon enough it’ll be time for halloween. Eek!


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  8. Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry posted on September 1, 2013 at 11:20 am (#)

    Keep shoving the pumpkin goodness in our faces because I love love Fall!


  9. Emily @ Life on Food posted on September 1, 2013 at 11:27 am (#)

    Bring on the pumpkin! This looks like a marvelous start to the pumpkin season.


  10. Liz posted on September 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm (#)

    These do look gooey and good! Bring on the Fall food for sure – apples, pumpkins, squash….I’m in! :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 1st, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      I’m so ready for it all! Thanks Liz!


  11. Jenn posted on September 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm (#)

    I knew I was saving that bag of toffee chips for a reason :) I am so making these.


  12. Stephanie @ Back For Seconds posted on September 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm (#)

    You are so right – gooey=good!! These look perfect, Dorothy!


  13. Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie posted on September 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm (#)

    Yes, gooey always = good!! These look absolutely incredible, Dorothy! :)


  14. Tracey @ The Kitchen is My Playground posted on September 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm (#)

    Oh, holy WOW!! … those look soooooo good, Dorothy! Do you deliver to North Carolina? :-)
    Tracey @ The Kitchen is My Playground


  15. Christi @ Love From The Oven posted on September 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm (#)

    Oh my heck, pumpkin + toffee + gooey??? That’s perfection. Delicious perfection! Thanks so much for the link love, now if I could just get one of those bars to magically appear! :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 1st, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Oh Christi, if only we were neighbors. Wait, probably that wouldn’t be a good idea. We’d both go crazy from sugar highs. :)


  16. Mom posted on September 1, 2013 at 5:50 pm (#)

    Yum, these do look wonderful. Regarding #3 above, next time someone walks more than a few steps away from their cart…move it far away and then stand back and watch them search for it!! And as for #7, there is no reason to stop making pumpkin on 11/30. Pumpkin is still good for Christmas pies so maybe 12/31.. :)


  17. Meg @ Sweet Twist posted on September 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm (#)

    Ha, love your points. Big bang is great. I recommend Parks and Recreation.

    I should try some gooey bars..these seem like a great start.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 1st, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      I love them – they’re really no fail bars. Thanks Meg!


  18. Kristin posted on September 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm (#)

    I have cans of pumpkin sitting on my counter..waiting to be baked tomorrow! It’s never too early.


  19. Laurie F. posted on September 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm (#)

    I can’t get enough pumpkin! And you are so right about Costco!!! I was there this past Friday at 11:00 am, and coming out of a side aisle into a main aisle was like waiting to make a right turn into bumper-to-bumper traffic, and there was even a long line to leave the store (and I saw people cutting in front of others, just like in traffic!). Thanks for the tip about Sam’s. I may have missed your post, but Jordan says you make the best blueberry muffins in the world, and I just bought a giant container of blueberries at Costco, so are you sharing that recipe?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 1st, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      LOL, that’s funny she says that, she won’t eat them. Ha!! I haven’t posted yet, I’ll email it to you!


  20. Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life posted on September 2, 2013 at 6:25 am (#)

    I literally fell off my chair when I saw this on Pinterest. Pumpkin toffee gooey cake?!?! Way to open pumpkin season with a bang!


  21. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel posted on September 2, 2013 at 7:19 am (#)

    I love that you have the same feeling about shoving fall foods in peoples faces the moment it’s September lol.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 2nd, 2013 at 7:26 am

      I’ve been chomping at the bit since July! :) Thanks Rachel!


  22. Amy posted on September 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm (#)

    Umm, yes. Since when it cloudy and 90° weather in September okay?? Seriously Sacramento, get with the program!

    And yes, Big Bang Theory is my favorite show ever! I know I’ve mentioned this to you before… We’re onto season 4 (or is it 5?), and we watch at least 2 episodes every night. SO addicting! But not as much as your pumpkin gooey bars, I’m sure. :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 2nd, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      I’m jonesing because I forgot to mail back the Netflix and now we have to wait until at least Thursday!! I need my Big Bang!


      • Amy replied on September 2nd, 2013 at 6:50 pm

        Oh no!! That’s SUCH a tragedy, I’m so sorry! What season are you on?

        And I just saw that these gooey bars are in the prime #2 spot on the top row of FoodGawker — congratulations!!! :)

        • Dorothy Kern replied on September 3rd, 2013 at 8:25 am

          We’re in the middle of season 3! And thanks for letting me know!! I had no idea!

          • Amy replied on September 3rd, 2013 at 1:03 pm

            You’re moving right along! By the end of that season, I had started talking to the characters and giving them advice, which they never seemed to take. Oh, the problems with TV show attachments! 😉 And you’re welcome! It’s so hard to be featured on the first page, let alone the first row!! You’re so talented Dorothy!

            • Dorothy Kern replied on September 3rd, 2013 at 7:32 pm

              LOL, I totally do that too!

          • Amy replied on September 3rd, 2013 at 10:59 pm

            SO glad I’m not the only one!

  23. Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl posted on September 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm (#)

    Bring on the pumpkin!! These look so gooey and perfect and need to happen in my kitchen ASAP.


  24. tanya posted on September 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm (#)

    Who exactly came up with the word “twerking”??? That’s the best they could do? And I have to catch Big Bang Theory! AND I must make these pumpkin bars! Holy cannoli’s these are outstanding!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 2nd, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks Tanya! I know, I had to look up twerking. I had no clue! *crazy*


  25. Julianne @ Beyond Frosting posted on September 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm (#)

    Oh I need these RIGHT NOW! Love it!


  26. Erin | The Emerging Foodie posted on September 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm (#)

    Mmmm, these look amazing! What a fun idea for the flavor combination! I love both pumpkin and toffee and when they’re in a gooey bar? Well that sounds delectable!


  27. Trish - Mom On Timeout posted on September 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm (#)

    Totally, totally terrific! Toffee AND pumpkin? In LOOOVE!


  28. Kristy @ Sweet Treats & More posted on September 2, 2013 at 8:28 pm (#)

    Oh my gosh these look amazing!! I can’t wait to try!


  29. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life posted on September 3, 2013 at 5:07 am (#)

    Bring on the pumpkin…I have been impatiently waiting for all this orange goodness to start showing up! Gooey pumpkin bars…sounds perfect to me!!!


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  31. Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies posted on September 3, 2013 at 6:29 am (#)

    I love that you used pumpkin instead of butter. These look so wonderful!


  32. Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar posted on September 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm (#)

    These look like the gooey-est and yummiest of your gooey bars! I’m dying over them! YUM!


  33. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts posted on September 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm (#)

    I am so ready for pumpkin – these bars look incredible!


  34. Wendy posted on September 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm (#)

    It makes sense that these would be the best gooey bars so far, because each one you make is better than the next! I think you should keep going….strive for nirvana (if we aren’t there yet). Gooey bar development gives you lots of posts and we get lots of delicious! I love the idea of “Fall in a bite!”


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 4th, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      Oh, I have SO MANY IDEAS. :) Thanks Wendy!


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  36. Amy posted on September 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm (#)

    Hi Dorothy! Just saw these on Pinterest. They look AWESOME!! Definitely will be making these tomorrow. One quick question though, can I use Heath bar bits instead of toffee bits?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 7th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      Yes!!! Totally Amy! Sorry this took me so long, I must have missed it. Any sort of toffee bits would work, even crushed skor bars!


  37. Meghan @ The Tasty Fork posted on September 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm (#)

    I’m so ready for pumpkin and Andy Cohen!! I really want to be the bartender on WHHL!! (life long dream!!)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 7th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      That would be SO MUCH fun!


      • Toodie replied on September 10th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        I know that the yellow cake mix gives as richer flavor but all I have is white. Do you think that would work as well? I’m too lazy to go a zillion miles to the store.

        • Dorothy Kern replied on September 10th, 2013 at 7:08 pm

          It’ll totally be fine! Maybe add some vanilla for a richer flavor! :)

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  39. sally @ sallys baking addiction posted on September 8, 2013 at 3:25 am (#)

    You just CAN’T go wrong with pumpkin and toffee. The cake mix makes these so easy to prepare Dorothy! I have no doubt how gooey they are. That’s what I love about sweetened condensed milk!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 8th, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      I know, I’m addicted to the stuff!


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  43. Darcy posted on September 10, 2013 at 5:52 am (#)

    The pumpkin gooey bars look AMAZING! I am going to be pinning this to try! Thanks for sharing! Found you at A Time to Sparkle!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 10th, 2013 at 6:38 am

      Thanks Darcy!! Welcome!


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  46. Jacqui posted on October 10, 2013 at 8:37 am (#)

    Hi Dorothy! How many bars does this recipe yield? Thanks :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 13th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Sorry it took me so long to respond – crazy week! I get 9 large bars, or 12 more regular sized ones from a 9×9 pan!


      • Jacqui replied on October 14th, 2013 at 8:28 am

        Great, thank you so much!

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  49. Maisk posted on October 30, 2013 at 8:35 am (#)

    Do you think these would be ok to make on thursdsy to take to a party on Saturday, if I keep them in the fridge? Looks so yummy!


  50. kimmer posted on October 30, 2013 at 12:14 pm (#)

    lots of your recipes call for a 9×9 pan, why not a 9×13?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 30th, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      A few reasons, actually. One, I like thicker bars. And for things that use a mix (like the gooey bars) unless I use two mixes, they’re not going to be as thick as I’d like them. And also, I feel like a 9×9 size is more manageable for my family. There are only 3 of us! :)


  51. Agnes posted on November 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm (#)

    I am a bit confused on this… do I have to prepare the yellow cake mix as I would when making a yellow cake or do I just add the cake mix powder to the above ingredients? Thanks so much for sharing… so gonna make this today! =)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 8th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Just the powder with the stick of butter, etc! Don’t prepare it as directed on the box! Enjoy!!


  52. Carol posted on November 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm (#)

    The batter will literally stick to your fingers unless you spray down the entire batter with cooking spray Other than that, it’s all good.
    They’re baking in the oven as we speak. Hoping they turn out good! :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 10th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Yep – that’s for sure! All my gooey bars are like that. Great tip! :)


  53. Jane posted on November 19, 2013 at 10:39 am (#)

    I was just wondering how you would adjust this recipe for a 9×13? I’d love to make them for thanksgiving but a 9×9 just wouldn’t be enough 😉


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 19th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      You can make the recipe only doubling the sweetened condensed milk, white chips and toffee bits, but they will be thinner. (The original gooey cake bar recipes uses one cake mix for a 9×13″ pan.) I like my bars thick, so if you do that, you can double it all. It will affect baking time however!


  54. Kym posted on November 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm (#)

    This recipe sounds incredible (and as an added bonus uses up my leftover condensed milk & pumpkin). I have a question though, I’m not a fan of nuts in my desserts. Can I sub something? Leave them out? Suggestions??? Thanks!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 26th, 2013 at 7:20 am

      You can totally leave them out Kym! If you want to sub something, add more toffee! :)


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  58. Melinda posted on December 30, 2013 at 12:22 am (#)

    Hi Dorothy, I recently had a wonderful desert that i feel in love with. it was a sweet potato filling in on top a crust that was made out of yellow butter cake mix. it taste just like grahm cracker except it was a soft crust. i have tried to make it several times i never seem to get the crust right. you would never imagine that the crust was made from cake mix. can you tell me how to get that same texture and taste. my crust rises and taste to cakie.


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  60. Charlene posted on September 30, 2014 at 9:08 am (#)

    I just made these and mine came out a little crusty on top and not smooth. I smoothed the top out with my fingers as much as I could, thinking that the oven would take care of the rest but the dough actually held it’s shape and had crusty little peaks. What did I do wrong ?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 30th, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      I’m not sure exactly Charlene. What brand of pumpkin did you use? Possibly the mixture needed a little more moisture. Do you have an oven thermometer? Possibly your oven is running a little hotter than normal? Once they cool it may set down a bit. I’m sure they’ll still taste good! If you’re worried about how the top looks you could add a little powdered sugar/milk glaze or sprinkle with toffee bits if it’s still hot.


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  62. Maggie posted on November 25, 2014 at 11:32 am (#)

    These look delicious! Do you think I could freeze these in individual portions for later? 


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 25th, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Yes! I always freeze everything!


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