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Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Bars

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Bars

Today was the first cool (ok, cool-ish) day of the fall out in my neck of the woods and it seemed like the perfect excuse to bring out a fall favorite: pumpkin pie. I love the spicy sweet taste of pumpkin pie, and the smooth texture of a well-made one. Last year, I came up with a chocolate variation on my pumpkin pie that was a big hit with me and my family, so it was the first batch I decided to go with this fall.

I baked this pie up in bar form, rather than as a standard round pie. It still has the same rich, satisfying filling to it, but it is a bit easier to make and a lot easier to serve to a group. It is also very easy to transport, so you might want to consider it as an option for a holiday potluck. The crust is a shortbread type that is pressed into the pan and baked to set it up. This type of crust is very easy to put together and requires no special ingredients, so while a graham cracker crust can easily be adapted to work for this pumpkin pie format, there is no need to keep grahams on hand or to run to the store to pick them up before baking.

The crust worked out very well with the chocolate pumpkin filing and was a nice change from a graham cracker or pastry crust. It was light and very tender, a great contrast for the richer filling. It was also very sturdy, so the bars are easy to eat out of hand and do not require a knife and fork.

As always, I really like to use my Baker’s Edge pan to bake bars and bar cookies, so I used it for this batch of pumpkin pie bars. A 9×13-inch baking pan is a good substitution for this pan, although since the filling will be spread out a bit more in a rectangular pan, you will want to check it a few minutes early, just to be on the safe side.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Bars
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Filling:
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 – 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk (low fat is fine)

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (or used the Baker’s Edge).
Begin by making the crust.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into prepared pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.
While the crust bakes, make the filling.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until slightly foamy, about 1 minute. Whisk in all the remaining ingredients, except the milk, and beat until smooth. Then whisk in the milk, trying to keep the bubbles in the mixture to a minimum.
When the crust is done, pull it out of the oven and carefully pour the pumpkin pie filling over the still-hot crust. Return the pan to the oven. Bake for an additional 24-28 minutes, until pumpkin filling is set.
Cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving.
Bars should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Makes 20 bars.

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  • sharon
    October 3, 2008

    Fall is my favorite season mainly because of all the good pumpkin flavored foods! i love the idea of baking these as a bar rather than a pie.

  • Andrea
    October 3, 2008

    I love love love pumpkin desserts and it might be the biggest reason I look forward to fall. These look so good!

  • Kiersten
    October 4, 2008

    I love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate together. This recipe sounds really good!

  • Stacey
    October 4, 2008

    Thanks for posting this, I can’t wait to have an excuse to make them!

  • CookiePie
    October 5, 2008

    LOVE pumpkin pie, love chocolate! I’ll have to try these bars — they look amazing!!

  • Polliwoggy
    October 5, 2008

    I just made these tonight. My apartment smells like the holiday season, and it’s making me feel warm and cozy. Plus they’re delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  • Katie
    October 7, 2008

    These don’t look as dark and chocolatey as your chocolate pumpkin pie. Did you use a lighter cocoa powder? Or is it just the photograph?

  • Nicole
    October 7, 2008

    Katie – It’s partially the photograph and the lighting, and it’s partially the fact that the pumpkin layer is a bit thinner in the bars than it is in the full-sized pumpkin pie. It’s possible that I used a different brand of cocoa powder, but I can’t honestly remember what I used for the pie in the picture.
    The color will vary slightly for each person who bakes this, I suspect (brand of pumpkin could play a role, too, in terms of color), but the chocolaty flavor will be satisfying no matter what.

  • Melissa
    October 7, 2008

    These looks really good. Do you have any ideas on what could be used instead of eggs? I usually use soy yogurt instead in other baking, but I have a feeling that may not work well here. Maybe just extra soft tofu. Hmm. I’ll have to try it.

  • Nicole
    October 7, 2008

    Melissa – I would experiment with a combination of cornstarch and tofu or soy yogurt. The eggs are what hold the pumpkin filling together, like a firm pudding. A lot of vegan/eggless pudding recipes use cornstarch as a thickener and, while you would have to experiment with the amount, I think that might give you a better result than tofu alone (which would add thickness, but not act as a binder).

  • marla
    November 11, 2008

    hi! loved these!
    where can i buy this pan?? i’ve looked online and none of them look as sturdy as yours…
    marla 🙂

  • Sophia
    November 25, 2008

    mmm… these look really good. i will probably make these later today.

  • Maven
    August 15, 2010

    Reposted to Halloween_Food
    with link. They look incredible!

  • Danielle
    November 11, 2010

    I was being a bit adventurous and tried using a pumpkin pie mix instead of the plain pumpkin puree. I think it was a mistake! My pie filling turned out really watery because there was already sugar added in the mix. Thickened it up with some flour and just stuck it in the oven. A bit scared, a bit excited. Hope it turned out okay! I think I’ll try this again and actually follow the recipe, cause this looks mighty tasty 😀

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