Pumpkin Streusel Bars
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An irresistible mousse-like pumpkin filling is sandwiched between a tender cake crust and a buttery streusel topping, making these triple-layer pumpkin streusel bars out-of-this-world delicious! They’re the perfect make-ahead dessert, thanks to the extended chilling time.
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Key Ingredient Notes:
- How to make this recipe:
- 1. Bake the cake crust
- 2. Mix the streusel topping
- 3. Prepare the pumpkin filling
- 4. Bake the pumpkin streusel bars
- Tips for Success:
- Make-Ahead Tips:
- Storing Tips:
- Pumpkin Streusel Bars FAQs:
- More Pumpkin Recipes:
- Pumpkin Streusel Bars Recipe
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Why you’ll love this recipe:
Whenever I whip up a batch of these pumpkin pie bars, they disappear within minutes! The contrasting textures and blend of fall spices make them seriously addicting.
- Easy – Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you, it’s mostly just spices. Pumpkin streusel bars only require about 20 minutes of hands-on time. After that, the oven and refrigerator do the rest of the work.
- Flavor – These pumpkin bars aren’t overly sweet, and they’re full of warm fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. They’re like a cross between my pumpkin mousse pie and pumpkin cheesecake cake.
- Texture – From the soft cake crust and creamy pumpkin filling to the crumbly streusel topping, the variety of textures is unmatched!
While perfect for Thanksgiving and holiday baking, I also love to whip up a batch of pumpkin bars for a Sunday morning treat throughout the year.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Unsalted butter – Butter holds the crust together and gives the cake crust a flaky, tender texture. It’s essential to soften the butter before creaming it with sugar. To soften butter, let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar acts as the sweetener for the crust layer.
- Egg – Bring one large egg to room temperature before adding it to the batter. Room-temperature eggs mix into dough more easily and give baked goods a lighter texture, compared to cold eggs straight from the fridge.
- All-purpose flour – Measure your flour accurately using a kitchen scale or the spoon and level method.
- Pecans – These add a buttery, sweet flavor and extra crunch. Walnuts would work as well!
- Rolled oats – Use old-fashioned rolled oats, not quick oats or steel-cut oats. Rolled oats give the streusel the best crispy, crumbly texture.
- All-purpose flour – This provides structure for the topping and helps bind the oats and sugar together. If needed a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour can be substituted.
- Brown sugar – This sweetens the streusel topping and caramelizes while the bars bake. Light brown sugar and dark brown sugar are used interchangeably in streusel. If you opt for dark brown sugar, your streusel topping will have an even richer and sweeter flavor!
- Unsalted butter – COLD butter is essential for a crumbly, crunchy topping!
- Plain Greek yogurt – Use plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt, not regular yogurt. Greek yogurt is known for its rich, smooth consistency and significantly thicker texture than regular yogurt. Use full fat for an ultra-creamy texture.
- Pumpkin purée – You need pure pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Sweetened condensed milk – This is my secret ingredient for ultra-creamy mousse-like desserts. Don’t confuse condensed milk with evaporated milk, though!
- Eggs – Large eggs help bind the filling together as it sets. I haven’t tested any egg substitutes and can’t guarantee your results if you do.
- Spices – Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger add warm, cozy fall flavors to the pumpkin streusel bars. I highly suggest using a microplane to make freshly grated ginger. The flavor is just SO GOOD and not even comparable to store-bought ground nutmeg.
How to make this recipe:
Before starting, preheat your oven to 350°F, and line an 8 x 11.5-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
1. Bake the cake crust
- Add the softened butter and granulated sugar to an electric mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Beat on medium speed until well combined and fluffy.
- Add the room-temperature egg and vanilla extract to the batter, and beat until smooth.
- Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and spread it out evenly using an offset spatula.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
2. Mix the streusel topping
- Combine the chopped pecans, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Rub the cold butter cubes into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly.
- Transfer the streusel to the freezer until you’re ready to assemble the pumpkin bars.
3. Prepare the pumpkin filling
- Beat the Greek yogurt, pumpkin purée, and sweetened condensed milk on medium-high speed in an electric mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Reduce the speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture after each addition.
- Stir the vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt into the batter.
- Poke small holes into the cake crust to infuse it with pumpkin flavor. This is an optional step, but I highly recommend doing it!
- Pour the pumpkin mixture over the warm crust.
- Sprinkle the cold streusel topping evenly over top of the pumpkin filling layer.
4. Bake the pumpkin streusel bars
- Bake the pumpkin streusel bars for about 40 minutes, until the filling is set and the edges are golden brown. Then, remove the bars from the oven, and let them cool on a wire rack for about an hour.
- Transfer the bars to the fridge to let them fully set. The bars must chill for at least two hours, or ideally up to overnight!
- When you’re ready to serve the pumpkin streusel bars, remove the bars from the pan, and cut them into 12-16 squares.
Tips for Success:
- Don’t forget the parchment paper! Line your baking dish with parchment, and leave some hanging over the edges to make removal super easy.
- Use a pastry cutter, two forks, or your hands to cut the cold butter into the dry streusel ingredients. The butter is fully incorporated when the mixture is crumbly and resembles dry sand.
- Drain the pumpkin purée if it appears to have a lot of excess moisture. Soak up the moisture using dry paper towels. Too much wetness can throw off the consistency of the pumpkin filling!
- Allow the bars to fully cool in the refrigerator before slicing them into squares. This ensures they are set completely and won’t fall apart!
Pumpkin streusel bars are a lifesaver when you need a make-ahead dessert!
- Make pumpkin bars first thing in the morning or the night before you’re serving them.
- They can be enjoyed cold straight from the refrigerator or at room temperature once fully set.
- Add toppings after you’ve cut them into squares.
- After cutting the bars into squares, refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Stack the bars with parchment paper between the layers to prevent them from sticking together.
- These pumpkin streusel bars freeze well too. Place them in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.
Pumpkin Streusel Bars FAQs:
Freeze fully-set pumpkin streusel bars for up to 3 months. They should be cut into squares first, then tightly wrapped in plastic or placed in a plastic freezer bag. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw the bars slowly in the refrigerator to preserve the texture of the pumpkin filling.
Pumpkin bars are hand-held, dense, pumpkin-flavored desserts made with pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice. They usually have a cake-like texture, but they aren’t the same as pumpkin cake or pumpkin cupcakes. They come in various forms, from layered pumpkin bars with streusel topping to pumpkin cheesecake bars or thin pumpkin cake bars topped with frosting.
Pure pumpkin purée is cooked and blended pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling contains mashed pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, and sweeteners. Pumpkin pie filling can save some time when you’re making pumpkin desserts. However, most cooks prefer to use pure pumpkin purée and add sugar and spices themselves!
More Pumpkin Recipes:
Pumpkin Streusel Bars
- 1/3 cup (75 g) unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (125 g) pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour Note 1
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (35 g) chopped pecans
- ¼ cup (25 g) rolled oats
- ¼ cup (35 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50 g) packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter cold and cut into cubes
- ½ cup (110 g) plain Greek yogurt Note 2
- 1 cup (225 g) pure pumpkin puree Note 3
- 1 cup (240 ml) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg preferably freshly grated
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Powdered sugar for dusting or powdered sugar icing if desired
- 1 8×11.5-inch (20x 29cm) baking pan
- 1 mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 8×11.5-inch (20x 29cm) baking pan with a parchment paper.
To make the cake base
- In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue to beat until smooth.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.
- Put the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly with an offset spatula. Bake for 15 minutes.
To make the streusel
- In a medium bowl, combine pecans, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Add cold butter cubes and rub into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Put it in the freezer.
To make the filling
- In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat the Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree and sweetened condensed milk on medium high speed until smooth.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
- Pour the pumpkin mixture over the warm crust, and spread the streusel topping evenly over the pumpkin filling.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the edges of the topping are nice and brown and the center is set.
- Cool on wire rack for about an hour. Then transfer into the fridge for couple more hours, or overnight, to set completely.
- When ready to serve, remove from the pan and cut into 12-16 squares. Dust with powdered sugar, or drizzle powdered sugar icing, if desired.
Tips & Notes
– Once sliced, leftover pumpkin bars can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
– To prevent them from sticking together, place a piece of parchment paper between each layer.
– Freeze fully-set bars for up to 3 months.
This recipe was originally published on October 2, 2015.