I am really loving the Secret Recipe Club. This month was especially fun because I was assigned to a fellow baker's blog - the Secrets from the Cookie Princess. Colleen is a gal after my own heart for sure - she loves baking for friends, family, co-workers, and her husband and has a great variety of
amazing goodies and treats.....and several savory options as well.
I was tempted to try all sorts of delicacies - like Brown Sugar Cinnamon Biscotti, Pecan Pie Cookies (wouldn't those be great for Thanksgiving???) and Mint Fudge Swirls (a beautiful cookie for Christmas), but since we were having an early "Thanksgiving" dinner with some friends in a couple of days and I was responsible for dessert, these bars jumped out at me.
I was not disappointed. The lightly spiced snickerdoodle cookie is a perfect base for the pumpkin layer - which is flavored like pumpkin pie, but with some flour added in, it's a bit thicker and sturdier than pie. The cinnamon and sugar on top add just the right amount of extra sweetness and spice, and of course, I couldn't resist adding some whipped cream on top, 'cause you can't have pumpkin desserts without whipped cream.
These bars were popular with our guests and I was more than happy to have a few left over for munching the next day. Grant wasn't the biggest fan, because he prefers pumpkin in cheesecake - but the kids and I loved them.
You can store them at room temperature, unless you've already piped the whipped cream on top, in which case, keep them in the fridge. They taste great either way.
Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Blondies (from Secrets from the Cookie Princess)
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pumpkin Pie Layer:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin puree
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Optional - but highly recommended
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until well blended. The batter with be thick.
Lightly grease a 13 x 9" pan and lay a piece of parchment paper across the pan, leaving overhang on the edges. This will make it easier to get the bars out of the pan later.
Spread the snickerdoodle batter into the lined pan and press into an even layer. Use your fingers - it's a bit sticky and the paper may slide about, but try to get it even.
Bake for 4 minutes.
Pumpkin Pie layer:
Use the same bowl from the snickerdoodle batter. Mix the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla and mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice and mix to combine.
Pour the pumpkin mixture over the slightly baked snickerdoodle batter and smooth the layer over the top.
In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients (sugar and cinnamon) and sprinkle evenly over the pumpkin pie layer.
Bake for 37-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for about an hour. Bars may deflate slightly and the top layer will have a pie-like texture. The edges will be more firm.
After bars have cooled completely, gently lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment as a sling. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Whipped Cream (optional):
In a chilled mixing bowl, beat cream on medium/high speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Put into a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe whipped cream on each square.