Well it's part deux of my pumpkin bar series, and this one really knocked my socks off. By the way , where the heck did that phrase come from?!? It's right up there with phrases like "I would go, but I don't want to be the third wheel." What's wrong with being the third wheel? It seems to me that the third wheel is pretty important. You need the third wheel... Now the 5th wheel, that's a different story. Or how about the ever popular, "More _____ than you can shake a stick at." I believe that no matter how much (something) was in a pile, I could still shake a stick at it if I wanted to...These are just a few, but I could seriously go on and on all day.
But back to the pumpkin bars...These bars were different from my first try. These contain an oatmeal crust, which ended up a little more crunchy and had some more bite to it. It also isn't as sweet as the first, and has more of a tang from the cream cheese. Oh how I love cream cheese. So if you have to take something to work for a pre-Thanksgiving feast, try these! They are super easy, and everyone will appreciate the "pumpkin pie"-esque flavor right before the holidays. Because I've heard that if you eat too much actual pumpkin pie before Thanksgiving you won't want to have any on the actual day. I think it's just a dirty rumor, but I'm not tempting fate.
Step 1: Go ahead and line a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with foil, making sure the ends of the foil extend over the sides of the pan. You could always just grease the pan, but that may result in mass destruction and...well...yeah you could just grease the pan. Go ahead and grease the foil. If you don't there was probably no reason to use the foil in the first place. Mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/4 cup of the sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. I actually used my food processor for this step. This amazing $20 food processor that I got right after the wedding with our extra gift cards. I probably use it 1-2 times a week. I love it. So much.
Next you are going to want to stir in the oats. Or you could just get in there like me and just mix it up with your hands, washed hands of course. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture; press remaining mixture onto bottom of pan. Bake 15 min. Remove from the oven and let that beautiful pan that smells like oatmeal cookies cool a bit on the counter while you do the next step.
Step 2: Rinse out that handy food processor or bust out your hand held mixer and blend together the rest of the ingredients. See the tiny little bits of cream cheese floating around in that batter? Heavenly.
Step 3: Go ahead and pour the batter over the crust. See that master foil-hanging-over-the-edge technique I've got going on? You have to take a class for that. No? Waste of $25...
Spread the batter as evenly as possible with a spatula and sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture. Pop back into the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
See all that awesome butter bubbling up and melting already? And isn't it funny that the word Butt in "Buttery" is glowing extra bright? Weird...totally by accident I swear. When finished it forms this amazing crumbly topping. Make sure you let them cool, though it is perfectly acceptable to grab a spoon and dig right in while it is warm. Be forewarned however, you may not be able to stop.
Pumpkin Oat Bars
makes 24 bars
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup cold butter or magarine
1 cup oats
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 13 x 9 inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil. Mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/4 cup of the sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (I used my food processor.) Stir in oats. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture; press remaining mixture onto bottom of pan. Bake 15 min.
2. Beat remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 25 min. Cool completely on wire rack. Use foil handles to lift from pan. Cut into 24 bars. Store leftover bars in tightly covered container in refrigerator.