Pumpkin Spice Bars
- For the crust
- Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pan
- 1 pkg. (18.25 ounces) plain spice cake mix
- 4 tablespoons( 1/2 stick) butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- For the filling
- 1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin, about 2 cups
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 15 by 10 1-inch jelly roll pan with vegetable oil spray and set aside.
Make the crust. Place the cake mix, butter, and 1 egg in a large mixing bowl an beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds. The mixture will be dry. Press it into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and set the pan aside.
Make the filling: place the cream cheese in the same mixing bowl and, using the same beaters (no need to clean either), beat with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy, 30 to 40 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. add the pumpkin, condensed milk, 2 eggs, and pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and beat until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the batter to the baking pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula. Top with the chopped pecans, if using.
Place the pan in the oven an bake the bars until the edges have set and the center is still a little soft ( press it lightly with a finger), 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the baking pan to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour. Lightly wrap the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour before cutting and serving the bars.
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