Janet’s Pumpkin Bars


Substituting Pumpkin Spice for Ground Cinnamon

Can I Substitute Pumpkin Spice for the Ground Cinnamon in the Recipe?

Absolutely, pumpkin spice is a possible substitute for ground cinnamon! This blend typically comprises of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, offering a complex aroma.

Starting off, if the recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, go conservative—try using 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice. It’s essential not to let the substitute overshadow other elements in your delicious pumpkin bars.

Pumpkin Bars

Why does this work? Cinnamon is the main actor in the pumpkin spice ensemble. The other spices—nutmeg, ginger, cloves—merely serve as the supporting cast, enriching the overall flavor profile.

For an exciting twist on the conventional recipe, why not experiment with pumpkin spice? Share your results on Life With Janet, where fellow food enthusiasts can join the conversation.

Now, a word of caution. Not all pumpkin spice blends are created equal. Some might include additional spices like allspice or even cardamom. Always check the ingredient list before going ahead with the substitution.

And lastly, consider the other spices in your original recipe. If nutmeg or cloves are included, you might want to adjust those quantities or even omit them entirely when using a more complex spice blend like pumpkin spice.

Veganizing Your Pumpkin Bars

How Do I Make the Pumpkin Bars Vegan?

Ah, the challenge of vegan baking! Fortunately, veganizing your pumpkin bars is not only doable but also delicious. First things first, let’s tackle the egg situation. One commonly used egg substitute is a “flax egg,” made from ground flaxseeds and water.

Now onto the frosting. Traditional cream cheese frosting uses, well, cream cheese. But fret not! Vegan cream cheese is readily available in most grocery stores, and it makes for an excellent alternative.

But what about the sugar? Many don’t know this, but not all sugar is vegan. Look for brands that certify their sugar as vegan, meaning it hasn’t been processed using bone char.

Would you believe that even your vegetable oil might need a vegan check? While this is generally a vegan product, it never hurts to double-check for any hidden animal by-products. To be on the safe side, opt for oils that are clearly labeled as vegan.

You’ve got your vegan substitutes, and you’re ready to bake. The process remains largely the same; just be cautious during mixing. Vegan ingredients sometimes have different textures, so take your time to achieve the right consistency.

Lastly, let your bars cool completely before frosting. Vegan cream cheese tends to be softer than its dairy counterpart, so allowing your bars to cool will give the frosting a chance to firm up a bit.

Storing Pumpkin Bars for Longer Shelf Life

What’s the Best Way to Store Pumpkin Bars for Longer Shelf Life?

So, you’ve baked a batch of those mouth-watering pumpkin bars but now you’re scratching your head wondering how to store them effectively. Don’t fret! When it comes to extending the life of your pumpkin bars, refrigeration is your friend. Placing them in an airtight container and storing them in the fridge can keep them fresh for up to three days.

However, you’re not just limited to fridge storage. Freezing your pumpkin bars is another viable option. If you choose to go down this frosty road, it’s crucial to wrap your bars in cling film and then aluminum foil before placing them in an airtight container. This method can extend their life to about three months.

“But wait,” you say, “what about that delicious cream cheese frosting?” If you’re considering the freezer, it’s generally best to freeze the bars without the frosting. Cream cheese frosting can change its texture when frozen and thawed. So, frost them after they’ve returned to room temperature for best results. This tip comes in handy if you’re planning to serve them at a later date, perhaps for a special occasion.

For those curious to explore variations of pumpkin desserts that are freezer-friendly, check out this delightful Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler recipe on Life With Janet.

Once you’re ready to serve them, whether from the fridge or the freezer, make sure to let the bars sit out for a few minutes to come to room temperature. This helps in enhancing their texture and flavor.

Lastly, remember that pumpkin bars have a moist consistency due to the pumpkin puree. This means they are susceptible to mold if not stored correctly. Always check your bars before serving, especially if they’ve been stored for an extended period.

Reducing Sugar in the Recipe

Is it Possible to Cut Down on the Sugar Without Compromising the Taste?

Pumpkin bars are a delightful treat, but what if you’re watching your sugar intake? Can you cut back on sugar without compromising flavor? Yes, you can!

There are several sugar substitutes available on the market—stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol, to name a few. These options offer a way to maintain sweetness while reducing caloric content. However, keep in mind that some sugar substitutes can affect the texture of your bars.

You can also experiment by partially replacing sugar with natural sweeteners like apple sauce or mashed bananas. These not only sweeten your bars but also add a unique flavor profile.

Another trick up your sleeve could be enhancing the other flavors. Increasing the amount of cinnamon or even adding a touch of nutmeg can bring out the natural sweetness of the pumpkin. For more tips on how to experiment with pumpkin and spices, take a look at this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins article on Life With Janet.

Reducing sugar doesn’t mean you’re losing flavor; you’re just shifting the focus. For example, the tanginess of cream cheese frosting can be a wonderful counterbalance to a less sweet cake.

But before making any substantial changes, remember that baking is a science. Start small with your reductions and make sure to test your recipe. This will help you maintain the moisture and overall structure of your bars.

Pumpkin Bars

Incorporating Nuts and Other Add-Ins

Can I Add Nuts or Other Ingredients to the Pumpkin Bars?

Yearning to add a crunch or a surprise element to your pumpkin bars? Nuts and other add-ins could be just the thing! Let’s dive into how you can safely and tastefully incorporate these into your recipe.

First, the type of nut you choose can greatly affect the final product. Walnuts and pecans are classic favorites due to their crunchy texture and buttery flavor. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not go for macadamia nuts or even cashews? Each brings its own unique flair to the table.

Secondly, timing is everything. To distribute your chosen nuts or other add-ins like chocolate chips or dried fruit uniformly, fold them into the batter at the very end of your mixing process. A gentle hand ensures they don’t sink to the bottom during baking.

However, nuts can introduce another variable: extra oil. This could affect the overall moisture level of your bars. To mitigate this, you could slightly reduce the amount of vegetable oil used in the original recipe.

Speaking of variations, if you love the combination of pumpkin and nuts, you’ll definitely want to explore this Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler recipe from Life With Janet.

But let’s not forget about allergies. If you’re serving these pumpkin bars to a crowd, make sure to clearly label any add-ins that are common allergens. You might even want to create a separate, nut-free batch.

Finally, if you’re looking for a nut-free crunch, consider options like pumpkin seeds or even chia seeds. They’ll provide a textural contrast without the worry of nut allergies.

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bars Recipe

Whip up the perfect fall dessert with these easy-to-make Pumpkin Bars. A moist pumpkin cake topped with creamy cream cheese frosting, all ready in 45 minutes. Mix, bake, frost, and you’re done!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pumpkin Bars, pumpkin bars recipe, pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


Flavorful Cake Ingredients:

Luscious Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 package 3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted


Preheat Your Oven and Prepare Ingredients

  • Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). While the oven warms up, assemble all the cake and frosting ingredients in separate areas for easier access.

Mix the Wet Components

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend together the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, and large eggs. Utilize an electric mixer for a smooth, well-integrated mixture.

Sift and Combine the Dry Ingredients

  • In a different bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. This not only combines them evenly but also aerates the mix for a lighter cake.

Blend Wet and Dry Mixtures

  • Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Stir until just combined; overmixing could make the bars dense.

Bake to Perfection

  • Pour the final batter into an ungreased 10×15-inch jelly roll pan, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the cake springs back upon gentle touch.

Create and Apply Your Frosting

  • As your cake cools, whip up the frosting. Beat the softened butter and cream cheese until creamy. Stir in the vanilla extract. Gradually add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat until silky smooth. Once the cake has cooled, spread the frosting uniformly and slice into 24 mouth-watering squares.