Usually I go into the task of making one of these recipes having come up with an idea of what the final product will come out looking like and more importantly… what it will come out tasting like. Am I the only one who does this? I have to say, most of time, I get it pretty right. These pumpkin bars, however…. I got wrong. Very wrong.
When I read the recipe, I don’t think I got past the idea that it had pumpkin in it. My brain latched onto the pumpkin and concluded that anything ‘baking-wise’ that had pumpkin in it, just HAD to be similar to a pumpkin scone….. mmm, pumpkin scone. Had that been the case, that would have been a very good thing because pumpkin scones (nay, all scones!) are amazing, but instead, something equally delightful, but totally different came out of the oven.
What these bars reminded me most of, was gingerbread. The comforting spicyness of gingerbread. The thing that set these apart from gingerbread though, was the softness of the slice. It really is very cake-like, especially if you choose to ice it. A vanilla butter icing (recipe below) is super yummy but it does hide the spiced flavour a little, so just a bit of icing sugar dusted over the top is also nice and lets the true flavour be the star.
You will need 1/2 cup of cold mashed pumpkin for this recipe, so this is a great way to use up leftovers, otherwise just make sure you cook the pumpkin a little while before you want to bake, to give it time to cool. Once you have your pumpkin, just cream the butter and sugar, then add an egg and the mashed pumpkin and mix well.
Sift the flour and spices, then fold everything together and resist the urge to eat all the mixture…. you can lick the bowl soon.
Put mixture into a lined tray (now you can lick the bowl) and smooth. Bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes.
Leave to cool.
In the meantime, prepare icing (if you decide to just dust with icing sugar, ignore this step) by mixing together butter, vanilla and hot water until its smooth then adding in the icing sugar.
When cool, ice or dust with icing sugar and cut into bars.