"Lightened Up" Pumpkin Bars {Fill the Cookie Jar}

"Lightened Up" Pumpkin Bars {Fill the Cookie Jar}

It's Fall, it's Fall, it's finally here! Well I guess it's not technically here, according to the calendar, but once it hits September I consider that Fall. Which means I can start cooking pumpkin and apple goodies and break out the cinnamon and pumpkin scented candles. Which of course I've already done!

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
4 eggs
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.

Bon Appetit!

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