If you guessed the frosting portion of this recipe is what got my immediately interested - you're right! The frosting is amazing but I do warm: it is really really really sweet. The pumpkin bar offsets it some and makes for a great overall flavor.
The original recipe is from Amandeleine. She goes one step further and sprinkles bacon over the top of the frosting. I intended on making these for a church social and wasn't sure I would get a good response with the bacon. I went with pecans instead. Honestly, I'm not sure I'm ready for the bacon mixed with sweets yet myself. If you're brave, go with the original recipe...if you are just looking for some pumpkin bars with an amazing caramel frosting..so with my version!
Pumpkin Bars with Caramel & Maple Frosting
(adapted from Amandeleine)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon seasalt
15 ounce can of pumpkin (or equivalent in fresh pumpkin)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 stick butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Beat together the pumpkin, sugars, egg, melted butter, and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture. Spread evenly in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
Caramel Maple Frosting
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
4 ounces cream cheese (cut into 1 ounce pieces)
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sugar and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Allow to boil about 2 minutes - stirring the whole time. Add the maple syrup, bring back to a boil, and stir until mixture thickens. Transport mixture to stand mixer bowl. Beat on medium-high until the bowl is no longer hot to the touch and the the mixture and thickened more. One ounce at a time, add cream cheese - beating until smooth in between each ounce.
Frost cooled cake with frosting. Sprinkle with pecans. Serve!