If you love pumpkin pie, you’ll love these pumpkin pie bars – you might even like them better! With a crust made from ginger snap cookies and pecans, what’s not to love!
I had so much fun creating this recipe! I absolutely love pumpkin pie, and I love thinking of different ways to enjoy the amazing flavor! The filling of these bars is similar to your standard pumpkin pie filling, but I didn’t want to do the typical graham cracker crust. Instead, I wanted the crust’s flavor to complement the pumpkin and add its own unique layer of flavor. I thought that ginger snaps would be a great accompaniment, and the flavor would stand out as well. Also, pecans, in my opinion, always go well with pumpkin. So I made a ginger snap and pecan crust. And it is amazing!
Most of the tweaking of this recipe was figuring out how to keep the crust from burning while allowing enough cooking time to cook the pumpkin filling all the way through. But finally, I found the trick and the perfect oven temperature! And the results are just heavenly! I’ll tell you exactly how to do it below!
On a side note: If you currently don’t have a kitchen scale, I would strongly encourage you to get one. Some recipes give you measurements in ounces, like this one, and it saves you from trying to guess the right amount of ingredients correctly. You don’t need a scale with all the bells and whistles. I probably have the simplest scale out there (also known as the cheapest), and it gets the job done!
To make this recipe:
The first thing you’ll want to do is prepare your pan. This step will prevent your crust from burning, so don’t skip this step! Take a piece of aluminum foil, and fold it so that it only covers the inside bottom of the pan. The foil acts as a layer of insulation that keeps the crust from baking directly on the hot pan. Next, place a long piece of parchment paper on top of the foil. You’ll want it long enough, with enough over-hang so that it will be easy to grab the ends and lift the bars out of the pan when they are cooled. Why not just use the foil to take the bars out of the pan? Aluminum foil isn’t non-stick (unless you specifically buy non-stick foil), and the bars will not come off of the foil easily. However, with parchment paper, which is made to be non-stick, the bars will slide right off. This makes it so much easier to serve individual bars that look as good as they taste!
- Once your pan is prepared, use a food processor and process the gingersnap cookies and pecans into crumbs. I’ve included the amount of crumbs you should have for both the cookies and the pecans in case you don’t have a kitchen scale. Next, add the crumbs to a medium bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. Finally, add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moist.
- Press the crumbs firmly into the prepared 9×13 pan, and bake for 8 minutes. When the crust is done, take it out of the oven and set it aside. Be sure to leave the oven on since you will be putting the bars right back in – no need to wait for the crust to cool.
- While the crust is baking, begin preparing the pumpkin filling. This is made pretty much the same way you make pumpkin pie.
- Combine the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set it aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or a handheld mixer. Add the eggs to the pumpkin and sugar mixture. Stir it well. Then add the evaporated milk, and stir until completely incorporated.
- Pour the pumpkin mixture over the crust, and return the pan to the oven, baking for 30 to 40 minutes. Your pumpkin bars are done when the center is no longer jiggly, and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the bars to cool completely on a cooling rack. Once they have cooled, cover and put them in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours to chill.
When you are ready to serve the bars, pull up on each side of the parchment paper – and in a quick motion – lift the bars out and onto a cutting board. Cut the bars into the size of squares you want. Add a dollop of cool whip or whipped cream, and sprinkle with chopped, toasted pecans.
- 9 x 13 inch pan
- 12 ounces ginger snap cookies, about 2 ½ cups of crumbs
- 4 ounces pecan halves, or one rounded cup about 1 cup of crumbs
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- 4 eggs
- 1 can pure pumpkin, 15 ounces
- 1 can evaporated milk, 12 ounces
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line only the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan with aluminum foil, folding the foil so it just covers the bottom. This helps to keep the crust from burning during the long baking time. On top of the foil, add parchment paper, allowing for enough overhang to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
To make the crust:
- Using a food processor, pulse the cookies and pecans together into crumbs.
- Add the crumbs to a medium bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. Then add the melted butter, and stir with a fork until everything is evenly incorporated.
- Press tightly into the bottom of the prepared 9×13 pan. Bake crust for 8 minutes. Leave oven on for baking the bars.
To make the pumpkin filling:
- In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs well. Stir the canned pumpkin and the sugar mixture into the eggs. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk.
- Pour the pumpkin mixture onto the warm crust, and return to the oven, baking for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the center is no longer jiggly – and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If the filling does stick to the knife, bake for an additional 5 minutes and check again.
- When done, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Remove the chilled bars from the pan by pulling on up on the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream and chopped pecans.