Pumpkin Bars – Happy Thanksgiving, Canada

Pumpkin Bars – Happy Thanksgiving, Canada

Pumpkin Bars with Macadamia Nuts
Pumpkin Bars with Macadamia Nuts

Today’s recipe involves pumpkin…it is the beginning of Fall and today is Thanksgiving and it is all about the pumpkin pie.  If, like me, your not a pumpkin pie lover but do enjoy pumpkin muffins and other delights made with flavourful pumpkin, then these bars will be a hit.  No mixer, basically one bowl and a spoon, delicious moist bars after 10 minutes of prep and about 30 minutes of baking, what’s not to LOVE!!

The recipe calls for baking the bars for 40 minutes but I would definitely reduce the baking time.  I baked mine for 30 minutes and they were done.  I’d set your timer for 25 minutes and then judge the remaining baking time from there.

Joy the Baker shared her recipe Pumpkin Bars with Marcona Almonds in the Better Homes and Gardens Recipes of the Season Magazine and it is super quick and easy.  Since I didn’t have any Marcona almonds at home but did have a supply of Macadamia nuts I wanted to use up I substituted them for the almonds.  The bars were winners at the dinner table last night.

What is a Marcona almond?!  Marcona’s are known as the “Queen of Almonds” and you can often find them soon in grocery stores as they stockpile items for the Christmas season.  They are grown and imported from Spain not California.  They are a slightly softer almond with a sweeter taste and are delicious. Especially the salted variety.

Pumpkin Bars with Marcona Almonds

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line and grease a 9-inch square pan and set aside.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I used salted)

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups roasted and salted Marcona almonds, coarsely chopped

In a medium bowl stir together butter and sugar until no lumps remain.  Stir in egg and vanilla.  Stir in pumpkin.  Add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger,salt, allspice and nutmeg; stir until combined and no traces of flour remain.  Fold in half the almonds.

Spoon into prepared pan, spreading to edges.  Top with remaining almonds.

Bake about 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

Cool completely and cut into bars.

Pumpkin Bars with Macadamia Nuts
Pumpkin Bars with Macadamia Nuts

If desired, serve with sweetened whipped cream and drizzle with maple syrup.

Pumpkin-Raisin Cake….So Moist & Flavourful

Pumpkin-Raisin Cake….So Moist & Flavourful

Pumpkin Cake
Pumpkin Cake

Well it certainly has been a while and I suppose the road to Hell is awaiting me…you know the road to Hell is paved with good intentions!  Believe me my blogging intentions are always good.

It just seems that between the idea of the recipe(s) I would like to bake or ice or decorate and the spare time to make it happen I seem to have a time management issue.  Or maybe it is having a full time job that interferes…which is a good thing…the job I mean.

Today’s recipe is a truly easy, as in only a wooden spoon is needed to mix everything to perfection, moist and flavourful cake.  I tried this recipe from Nancie McDermott’s book ‘Southern Cakes’ and it is a definite fav.

This book is filled with a little history on each cake such as it’s origin or tips passed on from family or other cooks.  There are a variety of  recipes like Red Velvet cake, Ocracoke Island Fig cake, Tomato Soup cake, etc.  So this is not your everyday run of the mill cake book.

I have made this cake many times and I prefer to leave out the raisins.  I also ice it with my favourite buttercream instead of the offered Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting.  The cake is currently baking up as I write this.

Give it a try you won’t be disappointed!

TIP: make sure to buy pure pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie filling!  As well check the ingredient label to make sure your pure pumpkin is not a blend of squash and pumpkin.

Pumpkin Raisin Cake

Ingredients for cake.
Ingredients for cake.PUMPKIN-RAISIN CAKE

Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease 2 8- or 9-inch pans.

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup raisins

1cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 cups canned pumpkin

In a medium bowl, combine the self-rising flour with the cinnamon and nutmeg, stirring with a fork to mix everything well.  In another medium bowl, combine the raisins and nuts with 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and 2 tablespoons of the oil and toss to mix well.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and the remaining 1 cup of oil, and mix well with a wooden spoon.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the remaining flour mixture all at once and stir just until the flour disappears into the batter.  Add the pumpkin and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the floured raisins and nuts, gently mix them in well, and then quickly transfer the batter to the cake pans.

Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from sides of the pan and springs back when touched lightly in the center.  Cool completely.

Ice with cream-cheese frosting, or glaze or icing.