I'm a planner, type A to the core. What you all see on this blog is usually thought out, cooked, photographed, and written a week or two in advance. But when I go out of town two weekends in a row and then come down with the stomach flu, even my best-laid plans are guaranteed to falter.
They're fuffy and cakey and bursting with delicious fall flavors. They're easy to make--just a couple of bowls and your hand mixer and you're home free. Plus, you can easily adapt them to your personal tastes by choosing which mix-ins to add or not add. If I was making these with myself in mind, I would've used crystallized ginger, raisins, and walnuts. But these are for you all and I know not everyone is in to all those things. So I took it easy. I hope that's good for you.
Pumpkin Spice Bars
adapted from The Cookie Book
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger OR 3/4 tsp. ground
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. pumpkin purée
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil, divided
1/2 c. raisins (optional)
1/2 c. toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 c. white chocolate, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper or foil. Spray with oil or baking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with hand mixer. Add in pumpkin, applesauce, and 1/4 c. oil and mix until just combined.
4. Mix wet pumpkin mixture into dry mixture until combined. Fold in raisins and walnuts, if using.
5. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool.
6. When bars have cooled, melt white chocolate and remaining tsp. oil in a small pan over low heat. Allow to cool slightly, then place in a pastry bag fitted with a small tip or a plastic zip top bag. If using a plastic zip top bag, snip a small bit of one corner just before icing bars.