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

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.

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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