I’m here, I promise I haven’t gone off and abandoned things. We’ve had some busy times here lately following Thanksgiving, including two Emergency Room trips for my Grandmother and three days worth of vet visits to sort out just what was going on with our cat Eddie’s heart.
Thankfully my Grandmother is on the mend from a bout with pneumonia and should be out of the hospital soon. The news on Eddie wasn’t as good, but not entirely unexpected. He has an unrepairable heart defect and his heart is starting to show some wear from it. We have him on medications now to hopefully help, but his time with us is limited, we just have no idea of how long he has until he crosses the rainbow bridge. In the mean time, we are spoiling him with treats and sleeping in the room with us at night. He and his sister Tess are both really good bedroom cats, they keep our feet warm and don’t wake us up, just like cats should, right?
I have a few holiday recipes for you here in the next week or so. These are recipes we had at Thanksgiving dinner, but are ones that would be wonderful for a Christmas Day dinner as well.
First up, some absolutely decadent pumpkin bars. We had pie for dessert following our giant feast of turkey, but I wasn’t feeling like making a traditional pumpkin pie. Somewhere along the line leading up to Thanksgiving, I caught a segment of the Today show and saw these yummy looking pumpkin bars with a little chocolate drizzle on a chocolate cookie looking crust. I was sold.
The crust has a great blend of chocolate and cocoa powder leading to a lightly sweet, deep chocolate taste. This is a crust I want to make again and try other toppers and fillings with it, it was that good. The pumpkin filling, despite having cream cheese in it stays really light with the addition of the eggs. It was almost souffle like. I made two pans worth of these bars and took one of the pans to work with me on Thanksgiving Day and they were gone in a flash. And I got a couple of phone calls from our unit down the hall and upstairs asking for the recipe, so I can tell you they made three units worth of nurses happy! The family was pretty happy with them as well, and they don’t make too shabby of a breakfast either. But you didn’t hear that from me.
With pumpkins still coming off the vine and in my CSA box, I can see myself making these again in the future!
Chocolate Pumpkin Bars
4 ounces chocolate, unsweetened
3 ounces chocolate, bittersweet
4 ounces butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
15 ounces pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 ounce chocolate, bittersweet, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9″ x 13″ baking pan by buttering the inside and placing a parchment paper or piece of foil that covers the bottom and two sides of the pan, with enough hangover to create two handles that you can use to remove the bars from the pan after they bake.
Place a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water and melt the two chocolates and butter in the bowl. Once the chocolate and butter have melted, remove from heat and add the cocoa powder and sugar. Stir well to combine and then whisk in your eggs, one at a time at a time. Finally, add in the salt and flour and stir until just combined. Spread the dough in the bottom of your prepared pan as evenly as you can, just be warned, this dough is a bit sticky! Set aside and prepare your pumpkin filling.
For pumpkin filling, combine the cream cheese and pumpkin in the bowl for your mixer. Add sugar, salt, and spices and mix well on medium low speed. Add your eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing until smooth. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the chocolate layer. With a spoon or piping bag, drizzle your melted chocolate on top of pumpkin layer in any design you desire, just be sure to keep the chocolate very light for the topping, the filling batter is light enough that spoonfuls of chocolate will sink down to the crust.
Bake bars for 45 minutes or until puffy in the center. Allow to cool and then refrigerate until completely chilled. When ready to serve, use the handles you left with the parchment or foil to lift the bars out of the pan to a large cutting board. Cut into bars and serve.