ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Golden Cinnamon-Pumpkin Bars,” from King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking.*
TIMING: a little more than 1 hour
DIFFICULTY: Just follow the directions
TOOLS: A baking pan. A stand mixer would also be nice.
COOK TYPE: Oven. Baking.
HEALTH: Well, we are still in the dessert category, but as far as that goes, this has its pro’s along with the usual con’s (like sugar and fat). It has pureed veggie. It contains cinnamon (which is quite great for you). It is made with a whole grain flour. So we’re pretty cool. If you are craving something sweet, you could do much worse.
We were getting ready for a trip up the east coast, and I had an afternoon of avoiding packing in front of me in which to make the edibles for the long journey northward. Usually, I would have planned out the food and built the ingredients into our regular grocery run. This time, however, it hadn’t worked out that way, and I just had to use whatever was already in the pantry. So what did I think of? Baked goods.
I scoured my cookbooks for recipes which could use up the exact ingredients I had (including milk, eggs, buttermilk, etc.), with nothing too out of the ordinary. And I also wanted simple recipes–like bars instead of cookies or cakes–so that I could whip up any number of them in one afternoon. Thus, I was up to my elbows in two kinds of muffins and three bars, rotating things in and out of the oven, into the evening (and my poor husband had to pick up late carry-out for dinner which, yes, sort of defeated the purpose, but sometimes oneself just can’t be reasoned with).
I thought these were great treats, but a little out of season. Come fall, I would make them again, but I would have to play with the recipe a little. Ours were too crumbly to make them easy to cut up, remove from the pan, or plate. Still, good.
NOTES: The original recipe calls for 1 cup cinnamon chips and 1 cup golden raisins or craisins. If you can find natural cinnamon chips and/or if you go for fruit in your bars, go for it. Stir either or both in after the flour.
- Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a 9×12 inch baking pan.
- In a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, melt 3/4 cup unsalted butter. Add 1 1/3 cups brown sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved.
- Pour butter and sugar into a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl), and beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon allspice. Beat in 1 egg.
- Beat in 1 cup canned pumpkin. Mix in 1 1/2 cups spelt or whole wheat flour.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick. (A clean toothpick means they are baked through.) Cool before cutting.
Serve with mulled cider on a chilly fall day.
*Recipe changed from the original.