Make EASY Pumpkin Bars with a delicious cream cheese frosting! These easy cookie bars are perfect with my favorite frosting recipe and they are a hit all season long.
If you want an easy fall dessert you can't stop eating, then make these bars - you won't be sorry.
One of my favorite things to make with pumpkin are my pumpkin cookies. I've stuffed them with caramel and turned them into blondies, but I've never made them the way pumpkin was intended to be served: with cream cheese frosting.
There's something about the spices in a pumpkin dessert or cake roll that just requires cream cheese frosting, don't you think? These bars have all the things that you love about fall: pumpkin and spices and cream cheese frosting.
And, surprise: these aren't pumpkin cake bars. These are Pumpkin COOKIE Bars!!
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What is a pumpkin bar?
I mean, don't get me wrong, I love pumpkin cake, but when I think of a pumpkin bar I think of cookie bars. These are like sugar cookie bars or chocolate chip cookie bars, but they start with my perfect pumpkin cookie recipe!
As always when I'm ramping up for fall and holiday baking, I stock up on my favorite butter and cream cheese: Challenge! I've talked before about how this brand means so much to me; it's all I ate growing up and it's the only butter my parents buy. Challenge is a cooperative of California family-owned dairies; it's the second largest butter brand and, yes, it's available nationally! (This post was originally sponsored by Challenge but has been updated.)
Pumpkin Cookie Science
- My recipe uses just ⅓ cup pumpkin puree but don't worry, the flavor is there.
- Besides, the pumpkin "flavor" you're so used to eating in desserts isn't really pumpkin - it's the spices! The recipe lists out which spices to use, or if you make my DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice you can use that instead.
- The recipe only uses one egg yolk, not a full egg. Pumpkin is wet and changes the texture of the cookie, so I had to adjust the moisture somewhere.
- This recipe starts with melted butter. I love the caramelized flavor melted butter adds to this cookie recipe. Plus, by using melted butter you can just use a wooden spoon (no mixer needed) if you want.
Easy Pumpkin Bars with cream cheese frosting are the perfect pumpkin dessert for fall...or all year long!
Best Frosting for Pumpkin Bars
When it comes to frosting, cream cheese frosting is such an easy one to make. The flavor is unparalleled!
This frosting recipe uses 8 ounces of cream cheese to 4 tablespoons of butter so it's a thick and creamy frosting. Just make sure that both your butter and cream cheese are room temperature to avoid lumps.
Once you mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla, you won't need any cream or milk to thin. The texture of a cream cheese frosting is a bit different than a buttercream.
Pumpkin + Cream Cheese Frosting = AMAZING!
FAQ about this recipe
That's right - these are pumpkin cookie bars - so more like a cookie texture than a cake texture.
Yes! You can freeze the plain bars and frosting separately and then frost before serving. Or you can freeze the completed bars - just do it in a single layer so the frosting doesn't transfer as they thaw.
This recipe is designed for a 9x13-inch pan, but you could also bake them thinner in a jelly roll pan.
Yes you can - if you want a cake-like texture!
Other favorite fall recipes
- Triple Chip Pumpkin Cookies are the perfect pumpkin cookie recipe!
- Another great fall recipe: Apple Crumb Cookies!
- These bars are also great with NUTELLA inside! Get the Pumpkin Nutella Bars recipe here.
Have you made this recipe?
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Pumpkin Bars Recipe
For the bars:
- 1/2 cup Challenge Unsalted Butter melted
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13” pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place melted butter, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a strand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (You can also use a hand mixer or a wooden spoon.) Mix until combined. Continue mixing and add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add the baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice and mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly mix in flour until a smooth dough forms.
- Press dough into prepared pan. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until just browned around the edges and the teeniest bit jiggly in the center (these are better slightly under baked as they finish baking while they cool).
- Make the frosting: beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and mix in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until smooth. Slowly mix in cream until you get a spreadable consistency.
- Frost the bars as desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze in a single layer for up to one month.
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are the perfect fall dessert recipe. These cookie bars are made with pumpkin and are super easy to bake.
All text and images © DOROTHY KERN for Crazy for Crust. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate.
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Published on: September 13, 2018