Fall is such a beautiful time isn’t it? Spring usually gets pegged as the season when "love is in the air," but as a couple who got engaged in late autumn, Ryan and I can really appreciate how romantic the turning leaves and cozy atmosphere can be. As it turns out, we are not alone! Our friend John – Ryan’s buddy from way back and former roommate – recently proposed to his lovely girlfriend, Allie. After a very early hike, John popped the question at sunrise, overlooking the beautiful Lake Superior and fall leaves. He received a delighted "Yes!" and it was time for their season of celebrating to begin.
I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet Allie yet, so it was only natural that we would invite the future Mr. and Mrs. to join us for dinner – we were anxious to get to know John’s bride-to-be and to honor the beginning of their life together! Naturally, autumn calls for warm, spiced foods, so after a hearty meal, we capped off the night with yummy Spicy Pumpkin Bars. This dessert is so easy! I prepped my batch before our guests arrived and used dinner time as our cooling window before frosting them. That way, the bars were fresh, and it was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy to finish off a great night.
To make Spicy Pumpkin Bars, start by preheating your oven to 350° F. Gather all of your bar ingredients: flour, sugar, softened butter, milk, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, ground cloves, eggs and pumpkin. Mix ALL of the ingredients together.
Beat the ingredients at medium speed until they are completely combined.
Grease a 15x10x1" jelly-roll pan (mine was a little smaller than that, so my bars got thicker). Then pour the batter into the pan.
Smooth the batter out so you have a nice, even spread. Then insert the pan into the oven for 25-35 minutes.
The bars will begin to brown. They are done when you can press the center lightly and they spring back. Allow the bars to cool completely. We let this happen while we ate our main course – and, bonus, they made the house smell deliciously spicy!
When your pumpkin bars are totally cool and ready to eat, combine the powdered sugar, softened butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, adding a little milk at a time.
When the frosting has smoothed out and reached your desired frosting consistency, you can add chopped pecans if you’d like (we skipped the nuts in ours this time).
Use a spatula to frost the cooled bars.
Then slice the bars and serve!
Mix, bake then frost – it’s that easy!
Here are the love birds about to enjoy their Spicy Pumpkin Bars. What a great night of celebrating!
Prepare Spicy Pumpkin Bars for your next autumn celebration – be it a celebration of love or just the happiness of having an evening free! They are sure to be a seasonal favorite.
Come back in a few days when Emily will share a great Thanksgiving side.
Amanda is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.