Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars with Oatmeal Struesel Topping

We made it.

I'm sitting here in my dad's house in Alabama.

We drove 12 hours yesterday.

It wasn't too bad actually. Except...I really like to read. Sadly, I get motion sick. So the only way I can read in the car is to take Dramamine. And even though I take the less drowsy formula, I am sensitive to medications and those things just wipe me out. It's crazy!

So i feel as though I've been drugged and I'm still trying to wake up. What can you do??

We talked about Thanksgiving today. We planned the menu. We went grocery shopping.

As our thoughts and discussions turn toward the upcoming holiday, my taste buds keep dreaming of pumpkin flavored desserts.

In past years I have made a pumpkin crumble cake. I don't have any picture and haven't posted the recipe because I haven't been blogging that long.

But I can share with you some delicious pumpkin cake bars with a cream cheese swirl and an oatmeal struesel topping. To me, that's just about as good as a pumpkin crumble cake.

I made these and ended up eating three bars on my own. Then I took them to a dinner party. That night, I whipped up a white chocolate amaretto fondue (the hostess asked me to make it since I'm so good at it) to go along with the assorted fruits and desserts she had laid out.

While I was dunking a juicy strawberry in the sweet chocolate sauce I remembered my pumpkin bars. I plopped the strawberry in my mouth, cut a pumpkin bar into bite sized pieces and dipped a bite of the bar in the fondue. And BAM! Dancing pallet, eyes rolling in the back on my head and a whisper of "Oh my God."

Yeah. I'd say it was a good call.

So, if you are looking for a last minute treat for Thanksgiving. One that is a bit different from the traditional pumpkin pie, I suggest you whip these up.

And don't forget the white chocolate amaretto fondue.

Here's how to make them:

Grab your ingredients: granulated sugar, golden brown sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree, salt, baking soda, baking powder, unbleached all purpose flour, butter, eggs, cream cheese, old fashioned oats and pumpkin pie spice (if you don't have pumpkin pie spice you can instead use ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground allspice).

Start by whisking together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and allspice).

Melt the butter and toss it in a mixing bowl with the granulated sugar. Beat until creamy.

Add in the eggs, vanilla, water and pumpkin. Mix until well combined.

Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9x13 pan. Smooth with a rubber spatula.

Now for the cream cheese swirl. Put the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg in a mixing bowl and mix until well combined. The mixture should be smooth.

Drop evenly spaced spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture atop the pumpkin batter in the pan. Then take a knife and swirl the cream cheese mixture through the pumpkin batter.

Next up, the struesel topping. Put the flour, brown sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl.

Cut the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture is crumbly.

With your fingers, mix in the oatmeal until the mixture is well combined.

Top the pumpkin cream cheese batter with the struesel topping. Pop it in the oven and bake it up.

Once the bars are done, allow them to cool in the pan. Cut into 24 squares. Serve and enjoy!!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars with Oatmeal Struesel 


  • 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar  
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 large egg
Struesel Topping
  • 3/4 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup golden brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats

*Pumpkin Pie Spice mix, makes 1 tablespoon

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground allspice

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. 
  2. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth. 
  3. Beat in 2 eggs, pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/3 cup water until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. 
  4. In another bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and combine until well blended. 
  6. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan 
  7. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. 
  8. Drop cream cheese mixture in evenly spaced portions over the pumpkin batter. Pull a knife tip through filling to swirl slightly into batter.
  9. Make struesel topping: in large mixing bowl, cut butter into brown sugar and flour until mixture is crumbly. Mix in oatmeal with fingers until combined. Sprinkle topping over uncooked batter in pan. 
  10. Bake in a 350° oven until center of the pumpkin batter (not cream cheese mixture) springs back when touched and struesel topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. 
  11. Let cool completely in pan, then cut into 24 bars.
  12. Serve and enjoy!
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