The Great Pumpkin Experiment

Yes indeed, we’re into superlatives.

For qualifiers, I’ll begin by simply stating that I have succeeded in creating The Great Pumpkin Bar. This may be of no consequence to those uninterested in pumpkin matters, but to the rest of the world, it’s a very big deal.

I am one of those who adore anything that includes pumpkin: ice cream, pasta sauce, you name it.  I don’t understand why it takes the age of Halloween to roll around before my thoughts automatically shift to pumpkin, but every year it comes on strong.

In years past I have tinkered with pumpkin bars and I’m always quite happy with the results. This year, however, I wanted to bake a bar that was just a little different: not the cheesecake/swirl type, or the gingerbread/pumpkin sort, or the mini-pie affairs.

I knew what I didn’t want.
The results are an indescribably-delicious-dense-heart-warming-ginger-spiced pumpkin melange resting between a crumb crust and topping.

You be the judge, and may the Great Pumpkin be with you, too.  Happy Halloween.

The Great Pumpkin Bars

Crumb Crust and Topping

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, moderately cold, in chunks
Pumpkin Filling
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar, a combo 1/2 c. granulated and 1/4 c. brown is good
15 ounces canned pumpkin pulp
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts are good
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line and spray 9×13 pan.
For the crumb crust: place the dry ingredients in mixing bowl, and mix well with paddle. Add butter and continue to mix until crumbs form. Remove about 2/3 cup for topping. Spread the remainder in baking pan, press down. Bake until the crust begins to color, approximately 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare filling: wipe out mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat well; add the oil and continue to beat until light. Add the sugar and continue beating; add the spices. Separately combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Blend about 2/3 of dry into filling, add the crystallized ginger and raisins, and then stir in the remaining flour mixture until combined. 
Spread the filling evenly over the baked crust. Add the nuts to the crumb topping and sprinkle evenly over the filling. Bake 35-40 minutes, until sides pull away from pan. Remove from oven and cool on rack. Cut into about 25 bars.
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