Sunday, November 6, 2016

Chocolate Swirled Pumpkin Bars

This time I gave in to the pumpkin recipe. I did review quite a bit of recipes, but this one stuck in my head. I guess it was because of the "hidden" ingredient. Looking at this picture, we assume this is just a pumpkin bar with chocolate. However, it becomes much more interesting when we find out that the swirl is actually a blend of cream cheese and melted chocolate.

That chocolatey blend compliments the cake layer of the bar quite nicely. The spicy cake includes pumpkin and oil, so you can imagine the great texture it has. Another bonus is that the recipe comes together fairly quickly, so it is a good choice when you are short on time.

Chocolate Swirled Pumpkin Bars
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients/Cake Layer
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar

Ingredients/Chocolate Swirl Layer
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs milk
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 cup mini chocolate chips (divided into 1/2 cups)

Prepare a 10x15 inch baking pan by lining the interior with foil and extending 1 1/2 inches over the sides. Fold the extra foil down over the outside edge of the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the cake layer, sift together the ground cloves, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and flour in a medium size bowl. Whisk in the sugar. Take out a small bowl and whisk the four eggs together. Empty eggs into flour mixture. Then add the pumpkin and the oil and stir until smooth. Fill the foil lined pan with the batter and smooth the top.

The second layer starts by beating the 1/3 cup of sugar with the cream cheese in a medium bowl for about 30 seconds. Set aside.

Take out a microwave bowl and fill with 1/2 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Microwave for about 30 seconds and stir. Microwave an additional 30 seconds and stir again until smooth.

Add the melted chocolate, egg and milk to the cream cheese batter. Beat until smooth. Spoon this over the pumpkin layer. Then swirl the two layers together using a table knife or metal spatula. Be careful that you do not mix the layers, you want to marble them together.

Sprinkle the surface with the remaining 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips. Place pan in oven and bake until tester comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Sit the pan on a cooling rack and leave to cool completely. Then pull out of the pan by using the foil over-hang. Cut into bars.

Tips and Notes:
1. Since I did not have the size of the pan specified, I used two 8 1/2 inch square pans. I measured each batter layer and then divided it evenly between the pans.

2. As you can see by the picture, the marble effect is only on the surface. The cut bar from a side view still has 2 distinct layers.

3. If your chocolate chips are not completely melted after following the instructions, microwave in 10 second intervals. Check with a spoon after each interval to see if completely melted.

4. Feel free to experiment with your own style of layering by melting up some caramel or peanut butter to blend with the cream cheese to put on top of  brownie or blondie batter.
                               **LAST YEAR: Bacon Buttermilk Scones**