Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Harvest Pumpkin Bars

Hello, friends!

As most of you know, the Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner.

Nearly everyone I know adores this holiday... but there are some turkey-cranberry-stuffing-mashed-potatoes-and-gravy lovers who wrestle with a deep, dark secret...

I'm in the loop where this Thanksgiving Day scandal is concerned... but only because one of those people happens to be my 7-year old daughter.

Here's the hard truth...

(Whispers) Some people... do NOT like pie.

They just don't.

Not even a tiny bit!

Not pumpkin, or apple, or berry, or pecan... or if they have a more serious problem (like my daughter) they don't even like banana cream.

I can't pretend to understand it.

Thanksgiving Day dessert it an utter let-down to these poor souls.

Thankfully, I have a killer pumpkin dessert recipe on hand straight from my mom's kitchen, that is in keeping with the season, and will knock their socks off.

These pumpkin bars are easy to make, smell, and taste wonderful, are incredibly moist, and amazingly delicious. Plus, they are really healthy compared to the typical pies you'll find at the Thanksgiving table.

These are not your typical pumpkin bars... they have applesauce in place of oil, whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour, and spices to boot.

A crowd pleaser everywhere I take them, these pumpkin bars come together with very little effort, and with basic pantry staples.

So, with Thanksgiving Day approaching, I encourage you to give these bars a try... any friends or family who aren't fans of pie will be singing your praises.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Harvest Pumpkin Bars
Printable Version

*Makes 35 bars (in a jelly-roll pan/large cookie sheet)

(NOTE: This recipe is SO easy, and very versatile. You can use oil in place of the applesauce, any kind of flour you prefer, cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream, egg whites only... the list goes on. So make it your way! You really can't mess this one up.)

2 cups flour (I use whole white wheat)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (or a combo of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and all-spice)
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie filling!)
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or oil)
4 eggs

*1/2 recipe Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Add to the dry mixture, the canned pumpkin, applesauce, and eggs. Use a hand mixer on low speed to thoroughly combine the ingredients until smooth.

Spread the batter into a large grease cookie sheet/jelly roll pan. Lift the pan, and gently shake it back and forth until the batter is even. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow to cool. Frost with a half recipe of Vanilla Buttercream Frosting if desired. Cut into bars. (I do 5x7 making 35 bars.)


  1. Oh yum! I love pie, but these are a great alternative!

  2. Thank you for your newest recipe! We also have family members that won't eat pumpkin pie, and I don't understand that :)
    A few years ago, a friend gave me her pumpkin bar recipe. It had a full cup of oil.......but, with how moist pumpkin is, that much oil was not needed in my opinion.......so I changed it. My recipe is similar to yours. I use half whole wheat flour, half brown sugar/half white sugar, 1/4 c. oil, 3/4 c. water. I make a cream cheese frosting that is way awesome on these bars. Eventually gave/made the recipe for friends and family, they love it too and like that it is lower fat. I learned to wait until the bars are ALL completely cooled before carefully adding the frosting.

  3. P. S.
    Forgot to mention.........have also made these bars using cooked mashed carrots.......also very good!!!

    1. I like the cream cheese frosting as well... my kids just buttercream better. :) And cooked mashed carrots... what a fun idea!

  4. I've been wanting to make these since you first posted them and finally had a reason to a couple weeks ago. Oh my. So good. Love that they have whole wheat flour, applesauce and use a whole can of pumpkin. I frosted half with cream cheese frosting which was divine, but the unfrosted bars disappeared ridiculously fast as well.


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