Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars

I have a mild pumpkin obsession. I can’t help it. The first orange leaf hits the ground and I start stockpiling canned pumpkin like it’s Y2K all over again.

Blame it on the season. There’s just something about the cool, crisp weather and the crunchy leaves that makes pumpkin so appealing this time of year.

Or blame it on Halloween. It’s practically a given that any dessert is a go on Halloween as long as it’s orange.

Or blame it on the pumpkins themselves. Those bright orange squashes just sit on their cute hay bales at the farmer’s market, beckoning me to buy them and turn them into something delicious.  No-brainer there.

The fact of the matter is that fall is the only time of the year when I can get away with making an abundance of pumpkin-flavored baked goods.

And by abundance I mean surplus. Excess. Plethora. Overkill.

I have been known to toe the line between “what a cute Halloween dessert!” and “oh, you brought dessert. Let me guess…another pumpkin something-or-other?” on more than one occasion.

Halloween has come and gone. Thanksgiving will be here before we know it. And Christmas will officially mark the end of the pumpkin baked good’s politically-correct lifespan.

Make these today. Before Christmas. Because if you try to take them to your annual Christmas cookie swap, you’ll be greeted with dirty looks. I’d swap with you. But then again, I have a pumpkin obsession. The more “traditional” women in your life might not be as pleased. Just saying.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars
Recipe Adapted from Picky Palate

Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish:  2 hours
Makes 12 bars

Ingredients
For the shortbread
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the pumpkin pie
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

For the chocolate layer
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sprinkles of choice (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until well combined.  Slowly add in flour and salt until dough forms.  Press into the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish that’s been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.

To prepare pumpkin layer, mix pumpkin, sugar, cream, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg in a mixing bowl until well combined.  Pour over shortbread layer.  Bake for 45 minutes or until pumpkin layer is a light golden brown.

Let cool for 30 minutes, then cut into bars.  Melt chocolate in a Pyrex bowl over boiling water or in microwave until smooth, then spread over bars.  Sprinkle with white sprinkles if desired. Serve at room-temperature or chill until ready to serve.

1 Comment on Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars

  1. Dem
    December 26, 2014 at 10:52 am (2 years ago)

    I DID make these for Christmas and they were very well-received (dessert at Christmas dinner, not for swap). I substituted margarine for butter because of a lactose-intolerant dinner guest. The shortbread was kind of mushy — do you suppose this is because I didn’t use butter? The flavors were fabulous together — everyone loved them!

    Reply

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