Yes, it’s officially fall. Not only has it been since September 22, but it’s obvious when the sandals, tanks and shorts take the back seat to boots, jackets and knit hats. And although it’s hard to say goodbye to seasonal summer fare, it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with the comforts of fall’s bounty and familiar tastes of sweet spices, gourds, and fruits.  To me, this season is all about delicious gourd-goodness like zucchini breads and pumpkin pies. I found an oldie but goodie Pumpkin Bar recipe by the Mother of Southern Cooking, Ms. Paula Dean, and had to share it with you!

*For those of you watching your figure, (me included), there are some healthy tips to cut calories but keep the taste! (At the bottom of recipe.)

 Pumpkin Bars (click for video)

Ingredients

Bars:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Icing:

  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Helpful Healthy Hints:

Instead of veggie oil, use canola oil
Try low-fat cream cheese
Use a bigger pan – this yields more bars and calories are decreased per serving… share the love!

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