The bars came out thick and moist with a crunchy nut layer running through them. The maple layer is a combination of butter, sugar and chopped candies.
Maple Pumpkin Bars
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 beaten egg (room temp)
1 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped maple candies
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick or 1/2 cup butter
To make the filling, take out a small saucepan and place it over medium heat. Add the butter and heat until melted. Using a wooden spoon, stir in corn syrup and sugar. Cook mixture, stirring constantly until you no longer have a gritty consistency at the bottom of the pan and sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and place pan in fridge to cool for 5 minutes.
While that is cooling, whisk together egg, vanilla, maple sugar and salt in a large bowl. Once the timer goes off, check the temperature of the sugar/butter mixture, it should be lukewarm to the touch. Stir the mixture and then slowly pour it into the egg batter. Scrape saucepan with a spatula to remove all the syrup and place into the egg batter. Then beat batter with a wooden spoon and add chopped candies. Set aside to make cake batter.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees then line the bottom of an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper, bringing paper up 2 sides of the pan with an overhang.
Again, take a small saucepan and melt the butter over medium heat. Remove. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the brown sugar until all is dampened with the butter. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Lastly, stir in the pumpkin and set aside.
In another bowl, sift together the salt, flour and baking powder. Then fold flour mixture into wet batter. Place half of the batter in the pan and smooth the top.
Go back to the pan of filling and mix for one last time. Pour over the batter in the pan. Complete the layer process by spooning the rest of the batter over the filling. Using a dampened knife, smooth the top layer evenly over the filling as best you can. Some of the filling will show through on the sides, but that is okay.
Place in oven and bake for 30-45 minutes or until edges are brown and center has solidified. It is not done if center still moves when pan moves. Also, the top will develop cracks. Remove from oven and let sit in pan for 15 minutes to cool. Then scrape between cake and edge of pan on sides that do not have parchment paper on them. Using parchment overhang, pull cake out of pan and place on a rack to finish cooling.
One cool, cut and serve. You can also add vanilla ice cream or a scoop of whipped cream on top.
Tip: should you want a shortcut, you can always just stir the candy pieces into the batter and bake.