After approximately two weeks in France, I began to crave pumpkin. This was slightly odd for me; although I have a pumpkin latte or two every fall, and enjoy most pumpkin desserts, I would not call it my favorite. But of course, people always want what they can’t have, so when pumpkin was not readily available, I had to go find a can and make something! That’s when I found myself at La Grande Epicerie, paying like, 15 euros for two cans of Libby’s! Oops…but when you have mal du pays, anything goes.
I made these during my vacation and brought them to a weekend getaway I attended with some of my new French friends. If you would like to witness firsthand a profound difference between the French and Americans, serve a pumpkin dessert! Americans will probably be excited, and French people will be…confused.
Despite trepidation from our French hosts, Kelly and I found these bars delicious! I would like to try them again with white chocolate. Also, if you are short on time or want something less decadent, I bet the bar part is great by itself. You could just mix the chocolate in with the batter and bake!
Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Sea Salt
adapted from Ooey Gooey Caramel Pumpkin Blondies with Chocolate and Walnuts from the Tasty Kitchen Blog
-3/4 cups softened butter
-1 cup brown sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-2 tsp quatre épices or allspice
-1 3/4 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp table salt
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1/4 cup chocolate chunks or chips
-8 oz jar of caramel
-splash of cream, half and half, or milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with butter or cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in eggs, vanilla and pumpkin until combined.
3. Gradually add the flour, baking soda, and table salt. Spread about 2/3 of the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
4. Sprinkle the chocolate and sea salt evenly over the batter.
5. Melt caramel and cream in the microwave or in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water until smooth and easily spreadable. Pour over the chocolate and spread out evenly, trying not to disturb the layers underneath too much.
6. Wait a minute or two for the caramel to cool down a bit. Place dollops of the remaining batter on top of the caramel layer. Carefully spread it out so it covers the caramel. Be slow and patient – it will work out! And if it doesn’t, just swirl the layers together, throw it in the oven, and call it “marble-ized.”
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
I may or may not have drank two glasses of wine while I baked these, and subsequently may or may not have been more excited about eating a bar than taking a picture of the finished product! But if you are curious, I am sure you can a. imagine what they look like b. look at the original recipe c. bake them yourself! ❤