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One-Skillet Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Bars

Image Source: Jane Maynard
Image Source: Jane Maynard

One of my family’s favorite homemade goodies is Aunt Anne’s pumpkin squares. Anne is my sister who travels the world for her PR job, and spends her free time doing exciting things like hiking through Southern Utah … despite all this, I think Anne considers the pumpkin squares her crowning glory! And she has every right to be proud of these rich pumpkin chocolate treats!

Now that fall is here, I’ve had a hankering for Anne’s classic dessert. But lately, when it comes to baking, I’ve been a bit lazy. I think summer is to blame … I got too used to relaxing! I decided there must be a way to make the pumpkin squares recipe even easier than it already is, and employed my cast iron skillet in tackling this task.

Image source: Jane Maynard
Image source: Jane Maynard

The result of my experimenting is a truly delicious and easy pumpkin bar recipe that literally uses ONE PAN. The cast iron skillet is all you need to get this recipe from step one to step EAT!

To really take things over the top, I also made a butterscotch sauce to drizzle over the top of the bars. This was the best decision ever. No, really. I didn’t think the pumpkin bars could get any better, but this sauce proved me wrong. I discovered a very simple technique for making butterscotch sauce that doesn’t involve any thermometers or stress! I modified his recipe below, making it easier for moms with limited time and lots of distractions running around the kitchen.

My girls loved this dessert. My 7-year-old Anna even had some advice about writing the post, telling me to add in the following: “If you follow these instructions carefully, you’ll be surprised at how good it is!” So, there you have it!

Image Source: Jane Maynard
Image Source: Jane Maynard

One-Skillet Dark Chocolate & Pecan Pumpkin Bars

Makes: 16-20 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Using a 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt butter over low heat on the stovetop. Add sugar and brown sugar and combine well. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Add egg, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree, stirring well to combine.
  4. Stir in the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, then add the flour and stir well.
  5. Pour chocolate chips and pecans on top, then evenly fold throughout the dough. Flatten dough evenly in pan.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until top is lightly browned and no longer shiny, and toothpick comes out clean.
Image Source: Jane Maynard
Image Source: Jane Maynard

Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

recipe adapted from David Lebovitz

Makes: ~2/3 cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter, brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the cream, stirring regularly.
  2. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Once the sauce is bubbling (which happens within a few minutes), reduce the heat back to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of cream, stirring it in well. Let cool for a few minutes, then add the vanilla extract and stir well.
  4. Let the sauce sit for 10 minutes before serving, to allow it to thicken. Serve warm. Store leftovers in the fridge. To reheat leftovers, simply warm over low heat for a few minutes.
Image Source: Jane Maynard
Image Source: Jane Maynard
Article Posted 2 years Ago

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