Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. It's fall again. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin dessert, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin soup. So many tasty variations. And now pumpkin bars. Mmmmmmm. These are moist and rich and yummy. And the cream cheese frosting doesn't hurt either. I could eat the frosting by itself. This recipe, slightly modified, comes from Paula Deen via Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (can substitute 1/2 cup applesauce for 1/2 cup oil; I did this and was very happy with the result)
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.
To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.