Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Near Kitchen Disaster = Pumpkin Bars with Orange Glaze

It all started when I read a post on the BGE forum about roasting pumpkins.  Then I read about Pumpkin Bars with Orange Glaze over on the Boulder Locavore site and decided I needed to make them.  So I got a couple pie pumpkins, cut them in half, sprinkled cinnamon on the cut sides, put them cut side down in a roasting pan, and slid them into a 450 degree oven.  And promptly forgot all about them.  Some two and a half hours later, I remembered and found this waiting for me:

Aaaack!  What a mess.  Don't cha just hate it when that happens?  I couldn't even get a spatula under it to scrape it into the garbage.  So I sat the pan on the counter to cool off and went on my merry way.

Some time later, passing through the  kitchen, I decided to just take a taste of the insides to see what they tasted like.  Lo and behold, I had some seriously sweet pumpkin goop going on!  This wasn't going in the garbage can after all!  Don't cha just love it when that happens? 

So I proceeded to take the skin off--it just lifts right up--fun!--and scraped whatever wasn't completely charred into the Cuisinart to puree it into creamy pumpkiny goodness.
Into the fridge it went until it was time to make my pumpkin bars.  

In the meantime, I had found the same recipe on several other sites.  They all appeared to be pretty much the same and all had one serious flaw:  The recipe didn't make nearly enough!  One small 9x9 pan of pumpkin bars with orange glaze just wasn't going to cut it.  So I doubled the recipe.  I also added salt.  My mom always says that if you don't put in salt, your cookies, cakes, or pumpkin bars will taste 'flat.'  I don't know what the heck that means, but I sure wasn't about to have my pumpkin bars taste 'flat,' so I added salt.  Cautiously. A very small amount.  I also doubled the amount of pumpkin.  I'd like to say I did this because I'm a culinary genius and I knew that adding extra pumpkin would make my recipe superior.  But I cannot tell a lie.  The truth is that I made a mistake.  Aaaack!   Dont cha just hate it when that happens?  But you know what?!  The pumpkin bars turned out great.  And, in fact, I didn't even realize I had doubled the pumpkin until I was typing this up.  And did I mention the pumpkin bars turned out great?  Serendipitily great.  Dont cha just love it when that happens?

Pumpkin Bars with Orange Glaze

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups (or less) roasted-just-right pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup pecans

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter; then add in the brown sugar and beat well.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each.  Add in the pumpkin, mixing well.

Measure out your flour, spices, baking soda, and salt and stir together.  Slowly add the dry stuff into the pumpkin mixture, beating until well combined.  Stir in the raisins and pecans.

Grease a very large Pyrex type casserole dish.  Mine is about 16 x 9 or 10 I think.  It's really big.  It's the biggest I've seen.  Scoop the batter into the pan and smooth it out to get it as even as possible.  

Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Just before the bars are due to come out of the oven, prepare the Orange Glaze by whisking together:

2 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons orange juice

When the bars are done, drizzle the glaze over them immediately while they're still warm.  It helps to use a silicon pastry brush to distribute the glaze evenly.  A lot of it runs to the edges of the pan, but I just swept it back toward the center until it all looked even.

Allow the bars to cool.  Very important to let them cool completely because like brownies, they're hard to cut if you decide you can't wait.  Using the edge of a spatula gets a cleaner cut than using a knife.  This is especially true if you can't wait til they're cooled off.  (This trick works with brownies too.)  This recipe made 36 very decent-sized bars.  If  you cut them smaller, you'll get quite a few more.

These are super yummy and are perfect for fall and holiday baking.  Everyone I shared these with loved them.  They stayed moist for several days, even when cut. 


annie said...

holy moly, those look delicious! I made pumpkin whoopie pies for the first time this weekend -- you've gotta give those a spin now that you're on the pumpkin kick!

Gwen said...

Annie, those sound seriously yummy. Jeff and Jesse will be home this weekend, so I think I'll give them a try. I googled and there are several websites with recipes. Is there one in particular you recommend? Any tips I need to know before embarking?

Midnite Baker said...

Your bars look yummy!! My question is this: When you typed the recipe & discovered you had doubled the pumpkin - Did you correct your posted recipe to reflect this addition? Going for my last orchard trip in a few days so I'll buy more pie pumpkins then for this recipe. I'm getting tired of apple everything. If you know what I mean.

Gwen said...

No, I posted the recipe exactly as I made it. The orig recipe called for 1 cup of pumpkin. I used 2 cups. I think if I made it again, I'd use maybe 1 and a half. Not sure. Maybe my pumpkin was not as 'wet' because I had overcooked it. But it seemed very similar to what one would get out of a can.

It probably is one of those forgiving recipes. I imagine it takes longer to cook with the extra pumpkin in it. It was really moist and that might have had something to do with the extra pumpkin as well. I think it would have been too dry with only one cup.

Midnite Baker said...

Thanks for the info. Will make your adjustments when I make it. I certainly didn't expect so quick an answer. Thanks for replying.