Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Bacon

Pumpkin, caramel, and bacon... these are a few of my favorite things- although never before had I tried them all together! Spiced pumpkin cake, covered in a creamy, caramel cream cheese frosting with crunchy, salty bacon sprinkled on top; what is not to love! Although pairing sweet caramel with salty bacon may sound weird, it is incredible! Yummy!!

Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Bacon
Serves 12

Bars:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. table salt
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 9-13-inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray.
2. Whisk together pumpkins puree sugars, egg, melted butter, and vanilla in a large bowl and blend well.
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
4. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until well incorporated. Spread pumpkin batter evenly into prepared ban.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup water
Pinch of salt
½ cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes

8 ounces of bacon, diced and then pan fried, oil drained

1. Boil sugar, water, and pinch of salt in a large saucepan over high heat, for 5 minutes. Gently swirling occasionally to prevent scorching.
2. Whisk in cream and butter and boil another 2 minutes.
3. Transfer caramel to the bowl of a stand mixer, whip on high speed until sides of bowl are cool to the touch and caramel is thick, 8-12 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Add cream cheese, 1 cube at a time, until frosting is smooth.
5. Frost cool bars. Top with bacon pieces. Serve and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

( From Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

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