The chill in the air over the weekend got me pretty pumped for Fall! It’s officially here and is in full swing with all of the pumpkin, squash, and Fall inspired recipes and posts surfacing lately.
Hey, I’m not complaining. Since moving up north and getting to experience the changing of the leaves and cool (sans humidity) breeze in the air, Fall has become my favorite time of the year! Pumpkin spice lattes, trips to the cider mills, pumpkin carving, hearty soups, sweaters, bonfires, I just love everything about it.
I know this is going to be predictable, but do you know what my favorite thing about Fall is?
Pumpkin. Everything pumpkin. I discovered my love for it just a few years ago and it only seems to grow as the years go by. To kick things off this year, I decided to get back in the kitchen (finally!) and create a lightened up version of a carrot pumpkin bar I stumbled upon a while ago.
I decided to include raisins and a cream cheese “frosting” to make it more carrot cake-like. The result was drool-worthy.
Carrot Pumpkin Bars
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup stevia
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine
2 large eggs
6 Tbsp. egg white liquid (equal to 2 large eggs)
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Topping
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup stevia
prep time: 20 minutes
cook time: 25-30 minutes
servings: 24 bars
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 15″ x 10″ (or similar sized) pan.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, and baking soda.
3. In a separate (larger) mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, and brown sugar. Add eggs, egg white liquid, pumpkin, carrots, and raisins. Beat until everything is well blended.
4. Add flour mixture and mix well until blended. Slowly pour and spread into greased pan.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake is baked all the way through. (Easy tester: insert a toothpick into the center and make sure it comes out clean).
6. Prepare cream cheese topping by mixing all ingredients together while cake is baking. (optional)
7. Cool in pan on wire rack, then cut into squares. Serve as is or add cream cheese topping!
While the cream cheese topping was a great addition, it wasn’t one hundred percent necessary. If you know you are going to take a few days to get through these, you might want to leave it on the side and keep it in the refrigerator.
Either way, I could barely walk passed them without stealing one every time!
Question of the Day
Are you a big pumpkin fan?
I actually used to hate it. I could barely even stand pumpkin pie. Really. The first time I really gave the flavor a try was when I worked at a breakfast place and tried their Pumpkin Pancakes. Ohhhhhh my gosh, were they the best things ever.
Since that day, I became more open to pumpkin and now feel like I can’t live without it! Funny how things change, huh?