This months Fill the Cookie Jar theme is Fall and you can imagine my excitement when I found that out! I was thrilled to write and test recipes that included some of my favorite ingredients.
These "lightened up" pumpkin bars are moist and delicious and made a bit healthier by using whole wheat pastry flour in place of all-purpose flour, and applesauce in place of oil. The thin layer of cream cheese frosting on top makes them a truly decadent dessert without adding too much sweetness.
"Lightened Up" Pumpkin Bars
Recipe written by The Chef Next Door
Makes 24 bars
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2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
15 oz. organic pumpkin
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 15x10 in. baking pan with baking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, pumpkin and applesauce and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
Spread the batter evenly in the baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the bars in the pan on a wire rack until completely cooled, about 2 hours.
Once cool, spread with the cream cheese frosting. Cut into squares and serve. Store the leftover bars in the refrigerator.