This delightful bar cookie with a sweet pumpkin filling, salty seeds, and tart dried cranberries casually celebrates fall—the season of carving pumpkins and roasting pumpkin seeds.
For the Crust:
1½ cups rolled oats
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅔ cup brown sugar
14 tablespoons grated butter
For the Filling:
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup butter, softened
⅔ cup pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries
3 cups roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes
Pumpkins and their seeds, also known as pepitas, originated on the North and South American continents. Long before the rest of the world enjoyed the delightful squash, Native American tribes used the seeds for their medicinal and nutritional properties. As European explorers in the 15th century interacted with the cultures they discovered in the Americas, they brought back this unique seed and its fruit, introducing it throughout Europe and into parts of North Africa and as far as India in Asia. People used the seeds, by roasting and flavoring them, in their daily meals. Ironically, to date, China grows the greatest quantity of pumpkins worldwide. The little green seeds usually encased in their husks bear a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. Moreover, they can be purchased year-round in a variety of methods and flavors for a delicious yet very healthy snack.
To Prepare the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine together the oats, flour, cinnamon, sugar, and butter in a mixing bowl. Work the grated butter into the other ingredients using a fork. Press the mixture into the bottom of a parchment-lined 11-inch by 15-inch baking sheet or pan. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
To Make the Filling:
While the crust is baking, combine the pumpkin puree, butter, maple syrup, and salt in a deep saucepan. Continuously stir the ingredients over medium heat and bring them to a boil. After pumpkin mixture starts to boil, cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the heavy cream, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and vanilla. Spread the filling over the par-baked crust. Bake the bars for an additional 20 minutes, or until set in the center. Remove pan from the oven. Sprinkle warm bars with sea salt flakes. Allow bars to rest and set in pan for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars.
Recipe Created and Stylized by R. Shannon Mock
and Brontë E. Mock
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