In case you have ever wanted just a quick and easy, small serving of pumpkin pie without going to the effort of making the pie, these bars are the answer. These sweet treats are perfect in every way. They really do taste just like pumpkin pie. Because of that, the texture might not be exactly what you are expecting simply because they are a bar dessert. I was thinking they would be more solid and cookie like, like other bars but they have that semi-solid and smooth texture of pumpkin pie filling. The oats and chopped pecans in the crust and topping add a depth of flavor and texture that goes above and beyond a classic pie crust or graham cracker crust. And of course we all know that I am powerless against anything including butterscotch chips so I was bound to love these – they were the perfect addition! I can’t wait to make them again. It may have to be very soon!
For the crust and topping:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup chopped pecans
For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Butterscotch chips, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Lightly grease the foil. Combine the flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl and toss with a fork. Add the pieces of butter to the dry ingredients and cut it in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the oats and chopped pecans.
Reserve 1 cup of the crust mixture and set aside. Add the remaining crust mixture to the prepared baking pan and press onto the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Bake the crust alone in the oven for 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling.
To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and well combined.
Once the crust has been removed from the oven, pour the filling into the pan and smooth over the crust. Sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture and butterscotch chips, as desired. Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve.