Pumpkin Spice Bars

Needed: 

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

16oz pumpkin

1 cup veggie oil

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves (I grind up about 10 cloves in a coffee grinder)

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large jelly roll pan.  For those of you who don’t know what a jelly roll pan is (like me when I first made these) it’s a baking sheet with 1″ sides on it.  Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin. (Side note: these taste much better if you cook your own pumpkin…I will add a recipe for that below.) Mix in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger and cloves.  Mix in raisins (I don’t make them with raisins.)  Pour batter into pan and bake until light brown, about 25-30 min.  Cool, frost with cream cheese frosting (below) Sprinkle with chopped nuts.  Cut into bars any size you like and refrigerate if not eating immediately.

Cooking pumpkin:

Using a serrated knife, cut pumpkin in half.  Scoop out seeds and stringy insides with an ice cream scoop.  Save pumpkin seeds to roast if desired.  You can cook the pumpkin in an oven, stovetop or microwave.  I prefer either oven or stovetop.  Oven: Cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces and put into oven-ready pan with lid. Add 2-3 cups of water to keep pumpkin moist.  Cook at 325 for 45 min to 1 hour.  Check on it after 30 min because all ovens are different.  Stovetop: Using a steamer pan (or rice cooker with a steamer) cut pumpkin into smaller pieces and steam for about 30 min.  Micro: Same as stovetop.  Put in micro for about 15-20 min with 1 cup water added to bowl.  Whatever system you use, when pumpkin has cooled, use a spoon and separate flesh from skin.  Put into mixing bowl and mix for 2-5 min depending on your mixer until you have a pumpkin puree.  Then you’re ready to add the pumpkin to your spice bar or pie or whichever recipe you desire to cook that day.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Regular style: Mix 3 oz cream cheese (softened), 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp butter or margarine (softened), and 1 tsp vanilla. Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar until smooth and has a spreadable consistency.

Vegan style: Mix 2/3 cups of vegan cream cheese (tofutti or any other brand) 1 stick of earth balance veggie spread sticks (soften both.) Add 1 tsp vanilla and gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar until smooth and has spreadable consistency.

Enjoy!

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