Birthday Baking: Pumpkin Bars

by stefanie

It is a family tradition to cook one’s favorite dessert for their birthday. Eric’s birthday falls around Halloween which is prime pumpkin baking season. His equal affection for pumpkin and bars made this the perfect birthday treat.

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My father has been talking about pumpkin bars as far back as I can remember. Mostly he talks about how my mother will never make them for him. Now we know why. This baking adventure was nothing short of a three hour tour through smashing, whipping, kneading and boiling. And that’s only what happened while we were cooking. We learned that 1960’s cooking was all about patience and ain’t nobody got time for that.

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While the pumpkin bars were seriously labor intensive they were nothing short of a culinary miracle. They disappeared before we could capture a photo of the final product in all its glory. Will we make them again? We will probably join the ranks of Marylyn on this one. Check back next year.

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This recipe is courtesy of “Mom’s Neighbor Houston” according to the recipe card. If you can find him or her, thank them for us.

Pumpkin Bars

Total time: 3 hours
Yields 24 squares

1 3/4 C crushed graham crackers
2 C sugar (divided)
1/2 C butter, melted
5 eggs (divided)
1 pkg 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C whipping cream
1/2 C milk
1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 C cold water
1 16 oz can pumpkin
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix crumbs, 1/3 C sugar and melted butter. Pat into buttered 13 1/2″ x 9″ x 2″ pan.

Beat 2 eggs, 3/4 C sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Pour over graham crackers, bake 20 minutes.

Beat pumpkin, 3 eggs yolks, 1/2 C sugar, milk, salt and cinnamon in top of double boiler over medium heat. Cook until thick, approximately 5 minutes. Place in bowl and set aside.

In a separate sauce pan sprinkle gelatin on top of water in sauce pan. Stir over low heat until dissolved. Then mix with pumpkin and cool.

Beat on high speed 3 eggs whites with 1/4 C sugar until stiff and glossy. Fold into cooled pumpkin mixture. Pour over baked mixture and refrigerate.

Just before serving whip the cream adding 1 T sugar and vanilla. Cut dessert into squares and garnish with whipped cream. This step is optional.

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