These Cream Cheese Pumpkin Praline Bars are the perfect easy fall treat made from layers of moist pumpkin cake with a sugary cream cheese filling! A tasty dessert bar loaded with pumpkin spice and topped with buttery praline crumbs; one of my favorite and best pumpkin recipes for fall!
My Favorite Pumpkin Bars
As the temperatures get cooler and pumpkin season comes around, once again I find myself reaching for my most favorite pumpkin bar recipe! As someone who was never an obsessive pumpkin fan for many years, I can say with conviction that these delicious spiced pumpkin dessert bars with cream cheese frosting filling are to die for!
I like to consider this recipe for Cream Cheese Pumpkin Praline Bars a slightly more indulgent version of my lighter Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars. These tasty layer bars are easy to make, and even easier to eat when you’re craving something special and sweet!
You’ll see why these pumpkin bars are a fast favorite for any occasion, and so ridiculously good. Dense, tender pumpkin cake filled with sweet cream cheese and topped with a satisfying, buttery praline crumble; if this isn’t true love in dessert bar form, I don’t know what is.
What Makes These Pumpkin Squares So Good?
These Pumpkin Bars are just so versatile! They fit incredibly well with any fall menu thanks to their pumpkin spice flavor. I love these finger-licking cream cheese dessert bars for bonfires or potluck suppers – and they’re even special enough for Thanksgiving dessert! Here’s what makes these the best pumpkin squares:
- Jam packed with the flavors of fall: pumpkin, spices, and brown sugar.
- Moist and tender cake that holds up well.
- Simple but delicious cream cheese filling.
- Rich and crunchy praline topping.
- Easy to grab and go – no utensils needed!
The ingredients list for these super simple and delicious Pumpkin Praline Bars and creamy Cream Cheese Filling just smacks of fall. Many of the ingredients are likely on hand already, and cross over between the batter, filling, and topping. Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Pumpkin Bars
- Butter: Unsalted and at room temperature. Don’t forget to leave some butter chilled in the fridge for the praline topping, too!
- Brown Sugar: Light brown sugar keeps these bars moist and gives a caramelized flavor. Regular white sugar can also work in a pinch.
- Pumpkin: A reminder to buy pure canned pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie filling!
- Flour: All-purpose flour, or alternatively whole wheat flour.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: The taste of fall! Find premixed Pumpkin Pie Spice in the spice aisle, otherwise you can make your own blend by combining equal parts ground cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.
- Vanilla: For the best flavor, use pure vanilla extract.
- Eggs: A couple eggs to bind everything together.
- Salt: A pinch of kosher salt to balance out the sweetness.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder: To leaven the cake layers, but not so much lift that they become too “cakey”.
For the Cream Cheese Filling
- Cream Cheese: Full fat or medium fat, at room temperature.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar for that melted frosting effect.
- Egg: One egg to hold everything together while baking.
- Vanilla: Again, pure vanilla extract is the best way to go!
For the Praline Topping
- Butter: Cold from the fridge so the topping doesn’t melt too quickly while baking.
- Brown sugar: More light brown sugar for the richness of flavor.
- Flour: Whichever flour was used in the bars can be used in the topping as well.Chopped Pecans: Pecans are perfect for their rich crunch and great for pairing with pumpkin and cream cheese!
How to Make Cream Cheese Pumpkin Praline Bars
I use a 9×13 inch pan for this recipe, as well as a stand mixer for ease. These dessert bars come together in three lovely layers and each step is so easy! You’ll be on your way to a mouth watering pumpkin treat in little to no time at all.
Cream the Butter & Sugar: To start, cream together the butter and brown sugar for a couple of minutes. You can use a stand mixer if you have one, otherwise use a whisk to get a smooth consistency!
Mix in the Key Ingredients: Add in the pumpkin pie spice followed by the vanilla, eggs, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Slowly add the pumpkin puree. Finally, add in the flour gradually, being careful to not overmix the batter!
Make the Cream Cheese Filling: In a new bowl or in the clean bowl of your stand mixer, combine the room-temperature cream cheese with the sugar. Mix in the egg and vanilla until the filling is smooth.
Assemble the Layers: Pour one half of the batter into the bottom of a baking dish lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spread it evenly. Carefully spread the cream cheese filling over the first layer, then cover the filing with a second layer of batter.
Make the Praline: The topping is just butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans! Combine the ingredients and mix to get a crumbly texture. Sprinkle the crumbly praline across the top of the pumpkin bar batter.
Bake: Bake everything in an oven preheated to 350 F. Baking times vary, but I usually leave these in for about 30 minutes and go by the look and feel – the center of the bars should be set to the touch and the crumb topping lightly golden brown.
Lift the soon-to-be-bars from the pan while still in the foil or parchment lining, and place on a rack to cool before cutting into squares. Serve right away or store these in the fridge for an easy dessert or grab-and-go treat.
Tips for Success
- Change Up the Nuts: Swap out the pecans for other varieties like walnuts, hazelnuts, or macadamias. If you’re opposed to nuts in general, leave them off altogether!
- Use Canned Pumpkin: Canned pumpkin is easiest and best for this recipe (compared to homemade pumpkin puree, for example). Whatever you do, make sure it’s pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling!
- Measure the Flour Correctly: A kitchen scale is best, otherwise use a spoon to scoop the flour into your measuring cup and level it off using a knife. This avoids the mistake of adding too much flour to the recipe. Another tip is to not over-mix the batter, which can lead to tougher bars.
- Add Extras: Toss a layer of white or dark chocolate chips over the praline topping as the bars cool down. You can also drizzle the baked bars with caramel sauce or maple syrup for extra sweetness.
How to Store These Dessert Bars
The sliced bars can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze Extras?
These pumpkin bars freeze extremely well! Prepare and bake the bars ahead of time and cover them tightly, or store them in a freezer-safe container, to freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and serve cold or at room temperature.
More Pumpkin Dessert Ideas
Still Looking For More Pumpkin Recipes? Try These!Print
These tasty Cream Cheese Pumpkin Praline Bars are a fall treat loaded with pumpkin spice, packed with cream cheese filling, and topped with buttery praline. My favorite and best pumpkin dessert recipe to bake this fall!
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 cup flour
- 8– ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup cold butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with aluminum foil and coat with non stick spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter and brown sugar together for 2 minutes in medium speed. Add in the pumpkin pie spice and mix for 20 more seconds until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in the vanilla, eggs, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and continue mixing until smooth.
- Mix in the pumpkin on low speed until combined and then finally add the flour, mixing until just incorporated.
- Spread half of this batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Transfer the remaining batter into a small bowl while you make your filling.
- In the clean bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla continuing to mix on medium speed until combined.
- Spread the filling onto the batter in the pan and top with the remaining batter.
- In the clean bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add in the flour and pecans and mix until crumbly and combined, about 1 minute.
- Sprinkle this mixture on top of the pumpkin batter.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the center is set to the touch.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack completely and cut into bars.
Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 159
- Sugar: 10 g
- Sodium: 132.9 mg
- Fat: 9.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 16.6 g
- Protein: 2.2 g
- Cholesterol: 38.5 mg
Keywords: easy pumpkin recipe, easy dessert bars, fall desserts
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