So, I was completely trying to make something else when I made these. I had this idea that they were going to be shortbread bars.
But then, as I was creating the recipe, I cut down on both the butter and the sugar.
In case you didn’t know, that’s kind of what makes shortbread… shortbread.
The good news is that these bars are kind of like little pie bars. They taste like pie. And they’re healthier. Slightly less healthy when you top them with ice cream, but that definitely is how I suggest you eat them.
Cranberry Apple Pumpkin Bars
makes 12-18 bars (depending on how you slice them) — one 9 x 13 pan
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (at room temp)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tbs cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup cranberry apple butter*
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
*Note: If you don’t have access to a Trader Joes, which is where I found cranberry apple butter, I think any old apple butter would do just fine.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9×13 pan or dish.
Using an electric mixer, blend the butter, sugar and maple syrup. Add the eggs and pumpkin puree and blend until evenly mixed.
Sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add dry mix to wet mix and blend thoroughly.
Spread half of the dough on the bottom of the pan. Spread the cranberry apple butter evenly across the dough. Press pieces of the rest of the dough across the top of the dish. You won’t evenly cover it, but you will come close. See below.
Press walnut pieces into the top of the dish. This will spread the dough on top slightly. Again, see below.
(In case you can’t tell, that’s after it’s baked.)
I really liked these. I didn’t think I would at first, when they didn’t turn out as planned, but they really grew on me when I realized they were just something different than I’d thought they were. Served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream, these are to die for!
Sometimes, you’ve just got to be a little flexible. 🙂