Spiced Pumpkin Bars

SPICED PUMPKIN BARS
about 32 bars

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup shortening or butter or margarine, or ½ cup each butter and shortening or margarine,  at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups light brown sugar or the equivalent of 2 cups light brown sugar in granulated brown sugar substitute, firmly packed
  • 2 eggs or the equivalent of 2 eggs in egg substitute, IE, Egg Beaters, at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped English walnuts or pecans
  • Sifted confectioners' sugar or Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

In a medium bowl, sift together the first 7 ingredients; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine shortening or butter and vanilla, beating well.  Gradually add brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and pumpkin, beating well.  Stir in dry ingredients, mixing well.  Stir in coconut and nuts. Spread batter into a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan that has been lightly coated with non-caloric vegetable cooking spray.

Bake in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 30 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle of the bars comes out clean. Cool thoroughly on a baking rack before cutting into bars. May serve plain or sift confectioners' over cooled bars or frost with Cream Cheese Frosting, if desired.

Variations: Reduce nuts or coconut to ½ cup; add ½ cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate or white chocolate pieces/chips. Or, omit coconut and add 1 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries.

  

Cream Cheese Frosting
enough frosting to frost a 13 x 9-inch cake

  • 2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese or reduced-fat cream cheese,  at room temperature
  • About 4 teaspoons half-and-half or milk or reduced-fat or skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 (16-ounce) package confectioners' sugar, sifted (about 4 1/2 cups)
In a medium bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients, beating until smooth.  Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add additional half-and-half as needed to achieve to desired spreading consistency.

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