This is yummy and easy to make. It tastes even better the second day, after it has chilled. But make a (large) note to yourself to remember the ½ cup of reserved crust for topping!
-- Joan Peck, Modesto
This was a really easy recipe. I would advise that it be refrigerated only after cooling, to set up, and then let it sit covered with wax paper on the counter. Believe me, it will not last long; it will be consumed in no time!
It was easier to cut into squares at room temperature than right out of the fridge. Also, I reserved a cup of the topping, instead of the ½ cup that was suggested. The cup of topping was just enough for the entire surface of the pie filling. The ½ cup would not have been enough. The crust/topping recipe was excellent. I would like to use this for another recipe. This was a 10.
I read the recipe to mean reserve ½ cup of the 1½ cups of flour in the crust for use in the topping. I thought that the filling would bubble up over the topping layer. But when I took it out of the oven, the topping of flour and chopped almonds still looked as it did when I put it in the oven. Who wants plain flour mixed with chopped almonds? I reread the recipe and figured out that I should have used the entire amount of flour to make the crust and then reserved ½ cup of it to top the bars. Therefore, the crust was like a granola bar and the topping had to be brushed off, the almonds sifted off, returned to the top and then the powered sugar dusted on top. And it still wasn't very good.
I quickly made the crust and pumpkin filling. After having a taste of each, I was eagerly awaiting, "Wow!" The filling was sweet, fragrant and flavorful. The crust was much easier to make than a pie crust. Unfortunately, these bars were just OK, not the pumpkin pie replacement I was hoping for. The crust had a good flavor, but was hard. The filling was a little bland, which I was very surprised at considering how good it was prior to cooking. The crumbled topping seemed to melt into the pumpkin filling when cooked. I did use a smaller pan than called for and kept the cooking time the same, so it wasn't overcooked. The kids tried one piece and left the rest of the pan alone.
Our family gave mixed reviews to this recipe. We all liked the crust; it was like an oatmeal cookie. However, the crust's edges were overcooked after only 15 minutes. The texture on the pumpkin layer was not as smooth as I would have liked. I had not previously used sweetened condensed milk for pumpkin recipes, so I wonder if this is what changed the texture.
I like pumpkin, but pumpkin pie is usually too much pumpkin for me. This had just the right amount. I used 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon each of ginger and ground cloves instead of pumpkin pie spice. It was easy to put together and I will definitely make this during the holidays.
These bars went over very well with my co-workers. They baked up nice, with a smooth pumpkin finish. They remind me of something that would be served at a formal tea, cut in diamonds and drizzled with vanilla glaze. I may have to try that.
I was pleasantly surprised that I liked these. Not being a fan of pumpkin, I had little expectations for this recipe and thought I'd just share the bars and get opinions; but when all was done and the bars were cooled, I tried one and discovered that they were actually pretty darn good! I loved the shortbread texture of the base.
This is a nice alternative or addition to regular pumpkin pie for the holidays. The oats give the crust a nice texture, and the nuts on top lend a good crunch. Perfect for people like me who like pumpkin pie but find the custardy consistency boring after that first Thanksgiving slice.
These bars came together quickly and easily. I replaced the butter with Smart Balance spread and used nonfat sweetened condensed milk, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. The result is a dense, moist bar that tastes like pumpkin pie. The crust is crunchy and nutty and delicious. The consensus from my family was "ummm ... yummy!"
I have another recipe that is similar in taste yet easier to make; I'll use that one in the future. It uses yellow cake mix and pumpkin pie filling and doesn't need the two-step baking one needs.
I would have liked it if there were more pumpkin flavor; next time I will double the pumpkin layer.
I love pumpkin; so my advice to pumpkin lovers is to stick with what they know they'll enjoy -- pumpkin pie, for example. This will never replace pumpkin pie; it doesn't contain enough pumpkin to hold its own against the hearty and thick crust. Besides, there isn't much room on a bar for a dollop of whipped cream.
Although this dessert was firm enough to eat with a fork, as one would with a pumpkin pie, it wasn't firm enough to pick up and eat, which one might expect to be able to do with a "bar" dessert.
As good as the bars were, the recipe wasn't a new take on all things pumpkin as I had hoped. I liked the chewy oats in the crust, but was disappointed that the crust didn't stay crunchier to contrast with the texture of the pumpkin filling. Since the crust did soften, they tasted like, well, pumpkin pie in a square pan. They were good, but just not different enough for me.