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Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Bacon

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pumpkinbarsFor the Bars-
8 oz. bacon, diced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans

For the Frosting-
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/3 cup water
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 350o F. Coat a 9 x 13 baking pan with nonstick spray. Cook bacon in a saute pan over medium heat until crisp; drain on a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and table salt for the bars in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk together pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, egg, melted butter, bacon drippings and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in flour mixture and pecans.

Spread pumpkin batter evenly into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Boil 2 cups brown sugar, water and a pinch of salt for the frosting in a large saucepan over high heat, 5 minutes, swirling occasionally to prevent scorching. Whisk in cream and butter pieces. (Mixture will bubble furiously; keep whisking.) Boil 2 minutes more.

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, 10-minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add cream cheese, 1 cube at a time, until frosting is smooth.

 

- Recipe courtesy of Cathy Pollak and her blog noblepig.com.

 

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