I have been making these pumpkin bars for about 15 years. The original recipe is from my trusty Pillsbury Book of Baking, which is my go to for all things baking. I am pretty sure I got the book as a wedding gift back when I knew almost nothing about cooking. As the years have gone on, I have become a little more adventurous with my cooking and baking which includes lots of “healthy tweaks”. I took out some of the sugar, replacing it with Stevia. I also wanted to see how much oil I could replace with applesauce. The resulting recipe is much lighter than the original and still very tasty! I believe you could serve this to anyone and they wouldn’t know that you’ve cut fat, calories and guilt! 🙂 I hope you enjoy!
Whisk these dry ingredients together in a large bowl:
1 c. White flour
1 c. Whole wheat flour
3/4 c. Brown sugar
1/2 c. Stevia
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Blend these wet ingredients together in a large bowl:
3/4 c. Applesauce (mine was homemade and unsweetened-use whatever you have!)
1/4 c. Vegetable Oil (I used canola oil)
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
1 1/2 c. Powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbs greek yogurt
3-4 oz light cream cheese (Neufchatel)
Pour dry ingredients into wet and blend for about 2 min on medium speed.
Preheat oven to 350º
Grease and flour a 15×10 inch baking pan. (I know this is an unusual size-you can use a standard 13×10, the bars will just be a little thicker).
Bake for 20-30 min (30 seemed about right for my oven) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
For the icing: combine all ingredients adding enough yogurt for desired spreading. Beat until smooth. Frost cooled bars. Healthier option: Place frosting in a ziplock bag and drizzle over the bars after they’re cut.