It’s fall. This year I am pretty sure we all have felt it has snuck up on us. There is something about going through something as a world wide world that has brought me to realize that kind of unifies us in the fact that we can all relate with each other at least about one common subject now. I am pretty sure the majority of people on the planet in one way or another this year have felt the effects of how different life has been due to the pandemic in one way or another.
While I am pretty sure no one has enjoyed the effects of it, one thing for sure it is something we all can finally relate to.
In the midst of all being told and reminded how horrible this year should be, time has gone by one way or another, and with it also are slowly coming back those times that we all should be looking forward to for better or for worse. So I hope that even if this year has felt more slim for more people than usual, that we can all least keep our hopes up by looking forward to something in the future. One thing that makes me happy is to bake no matter what is going on in the world. I love the color of cakes and breads, I love the texture, I love adding a bit of chocolate chips, crunchy nuts, or coconut flakes for a tropical flavor to my cakes, and I love the smell of moist cakes, just as much as I love eating a cake the same day that we bake it as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Growing up our life was very simple. We didn’t have a lot of things, but one thing we enjoyed as a family was food. My parents also made it a point no never make us feel like we went without because if there was a fancy meal that we couldn’t perhaps afford to buy, they would still make it a point to try it at home.
One thing I always teach my kids is that you will never feel deprived if you can cook anything that you desire from home. Sure ingredients can at times cost a prohibitive amount of money, but eating at home is a very great way to save money especially when budgets are slim. If you have the power to cook anything, you will not go without fancy meals.
That ‘s the reason why I have challenged myself over the years to try to even make sushi at home. There is a sense of empowerment when you know you can make something with your own hands. That sense of independence perhaps that also makes you feel free from depending on others or when life circumstances change.
I have learned that in life another way to get through times is to enjoy the little things. And for me right now one little happy thing is to bake. And it doesn’t matter how fancy your kitchen is.
Living with faith in life means often relying on a better future and trusting that God has promised that to us, while also to learning to love the good things that we have in the present, even if during hard times they may seem just a few. I think this year many people have felt more sadness and despair than ever, but I hope you’ll be able to see some light shining through all of this right now.
Here is the recipe for the bars. You may print it or pin it for your records. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. I adapted it from a popular recipes and reduced the amount of oil and sugar in it.
Moist and soft Pumpkin Bars
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice allspice is a good alternative
- ½ tsp nutmeg OPTIONAL
- ¾ cup brown sugar dark or light
- ⅓ cup raw granulated sugar regular will work as well
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 15 oz. pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat over at 350°. In a medium side bowl begin by combining all dry ingredients in the order listed above.
- Make a small whole in the center with a spoon. Kind of like a volcano. Add oil and eggs to the center. Start by breaking the egg yolks and gently mixing the eggs only with the oil. Next begin to gently incorporate also the dry ingredients with an electrical mixer on medium speed. You may do so by hand as well. Mixture will feel still thicky at this point and not easy to blend all together.
- Add remaining pumpkin puree, vanilla, and maple syrup. Keep on blending all ingredients until muxture is smooth and no flour remains at the bottom of the bowl.
- You may use a 9×11 inch baking dish at this point or a large rectangular baking pan. The only difference will be that if you use the smaller baking dish your baking time will take approximately an extra 10 minutes and pumpkin bars will turn out thicker. We used a large metal baking pan for these resulting in a thinner pumpkin bar and also more servings per person. Grease the pan you will choose to use with a little bit of vegetable oil. Pour all the batter inside your pan of choice.Bake for 25 to 35 minutes depending on your pan of choice. Baking time will vary depending on your own oven's power and speed. You will know the pumpkin bars are ready when you insert a fork in the center of the batter and the fork comes out completely clean.
- Make the frosting. Then refrigerate and chill.
- Remove the pumpkin bars from the oven once ready. Allow them to cool until luke warm before coating them with the frosting.
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. cream cheese 1/4 cup butter 3 cups powder sugar1 tsp. of pure vanilla extract1/4 tsp. of pumpkin spice puree1/4 tsp of saltIn a microwave safe bowl warm up cream cheese and butter for about 10 to 15 seconds until they are both soft. Add vanilla, salt, and pumpkin spice puree and gently fold in ingredients. Gradually add powder sugar. Incorporate all ingredients. Set aside in the refrigerator until completely chilled. Once the cake is baked and cooled, coat pumpkin bars with frosting by using a spatula, a non serrated knife or a spoon creating S pattern shapes along the plan. Evenly coat all pumpkin bars by using all the frosting. Serve immediately.