Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Bacon

How to take pumpkin bars to the next level…add caramel frosting and bacon. This sure beats the regular cream cheese frosting we normally use with pumpkin desserts. The bacon adds a smoky, salty and crunchy complement, while the bacon drippings in the pumpkin layer add another subtle smoky taste.

I have come to love bacon in my dessert. Itgives it that sweet-savory flavor I love. The caramel frosting is a take on Italian buttercream, however, themethod is actually easier and the results are “perfection”.

Overall this is a great fall dessert. It would also go nicely as part of a Thanksgiving Day holiday dessert table.

Thank goodness these need to stay in the fridge, otherwise I would be grabbing one off the counter everytime I passed by.

Enjoy!

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.

Frost cooled bars. Finely chop cooked bacon and sprinkle onto frosted bars with sea salt. Place in the refrigerator to set frosting for one hour. They keep in the fridge for up to one week.

You will love these.

Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Bacon
From Cuisine at Home

For 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.

One Year Ago: Ravioli Lasagna

Post a Comment

44 Comments and 2 Replies

  1. WHAAAAAT?!? These look awesome…

  2. laura 2

    oh my god, i just died a little bit. these look incredible.

  3. Jean 3

    Died and gone to heaven. My October just got MUCH better!

  4. Jan 4

    These sound so different that I almost have to try them, especially the way you’ve raved about them. Is it absolutely necessary to use a stand mixer to whip the caramel? I only have a portable one.

  5. Susan 5

    Okay, Cathy. This is why I just passed you a ‘versatile blogger award’ … these look truly decadently delicious!
    Is you’re of a mind, see my post …
    link to thespicegarden.blogspot.com

    And … keep up the good work!

  6. Wendy 6

    Saw these in my issue of Cusine at Home and made them last week… sooooo goooood! Bacon and caramel… how could anything be better?

  7. elr 7

    Very unique recipe. Look really delicious !

  8. While I’ve tried bacon on a few sweet things, and don’t really care for it, I love how dense these bars look!

  9. Leslie 10

    Oh Cathy…the bacon just puts it over the top!!! I am drooling over here!

  10. Oh my goodness!! I have died and gone to heaven. These look fantastic. I am definitely making these for the holidays and maybe before then. Thanks for the post.

  11. OK, I love bacon and I love caramel, and I love pumpkin desserts (except cheesecake, which I hate!), but I’m not entirely sure I can handle putting it all together. I tried a caramel apple with hot crispy bacon on it, the other day and it was unique, but…I don’t know. Not sure I like the combination.

    Aside from the bacon, these bars look wonderful!!!!

  12. Noble Pig 13

    Hmmm. I just don’t know. That’s a pretty long time to be mixing with a portable mixer on high speed…could take even longer…might burn up the motor???

  13. Cheryl 14

    Bacon and Caramel and Pumpkin? TRIFECTA! Think I’ve found the perfect savory snack to try this fall…thank you!

  14. why do I read your blog when I’m hungry?? now I’m DYING for a treat

  15. Angela 16

    Caramel and bacon goes so well together, especially this time of year.

  16. Lori 17

    I am now ready for October and November! This looks incredible!

  17. you had me with the name of this post

  18. Laura L. 20

    Oh man. I’m going to make these but will have to omit the bacon as I have vegetarians in the family. I hope they’ll be just as awesome.

  19. Oh my gracious!! These bars look amazing! Doesn’t bacon make everything better?

  20. Very very interesting! I bet this is good, the caramel frosting looks amazing.

  21. Anna 26

    Holy crap, I am making these TOMORROW! As soon as I saw the title, I was running in the next room to show my fiance. If only it also had corn in it, then all his favorite foods would be combined! =)

    • MLMoon 27

      you took the words right out of my mouth.I fell on the floor laughing when you mentioned the corn. That is a running joke in our house: “Can we put corn in that?

  22. Wow, these look incredible. I am going to have to try a gluten-free version for sure! Everything is better with bacon!

  23. Mary anne 29

    Made these last night. My frosting didn’t turn out as thick as your pictures.

    But it has gotten good reviews. I don’t usually like pumpkin but I thought these tasted great!!

  24. Marjie 30

    I’m not entirely certain I can reconcile myself to bacon in my dessert. But, then…it’s bacon!

  25. justjules 31

    I made these for a tailgate party on saturday. They turned out GREAT! Everyone loved them – once they got past the “what are they?” & “is that bacon?” My husband had at least 4 – he said he would have a beer, eat a square…then repeat! Your directions were (and always are) very thorough. I changed nothing other than to add a bit of grated nutmeg. Thanks for making me the hit of the tailgate!

  26. Julie 32

    I just made these and used a hand mixer and followed the directions to a t. they turned out great! (i did up the nuts to 1/2 a cup though just because I like nuts). You can see the finished product here on my blog link to thedailyjulie.com

  27. grace 33

    you vixen! this is simply outstanding. my newfound love of pumpkin combined with my eternal love for bacon make this a winner to me!

  28. Now these must have been fabulous. Wow, what a great recipe.

  29. Mike 35

    Just made these for Halloween dinner – everyone is loving them!!!

  30. Tara 36

    Oh my lanta – my sister made these this weekend. I do not like cream cheese frosting (I believe I am the only one in the world who doesn’t), but these were truly perfection. I don’t use that word lightly either. Absolute PERFECTION.

  31. Brittney 37

    I made these for a friends Halloween party and they were a hit! Absolutely delicious! I plan on making them for a Thanksgiving treat as well!! Yum yum!!

  32. ALEX 38

    I’m sorry to say but when I made them, they came out dry and had a funky taste. I followed the recipe to a T… oh well. They looked delicious

  33. Oh my! This looks divine in so many ways! What a wonderful combination of flavors.

    We were both featured in the “Ten Tasty Food Blogs You Should Be Reading” at Jam Hands, so here I am reading and enjoying!

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  34. Nikki 40

    I just made these last Saturday. I have a question. When I made the frosting, the recipe says to boil for 5 minutes over high heat, which I was a little scared to do, so I boiled the sugar mix for 5 min over med high heat, swirling it around occasionally to prevent burning, just as you state in the recipe. It came out very dark, on the verge of being burnt, when I stuck it in the stand mixer, it harden to a rock on the sides as I whipped it. I have no idea what I did wrong, because I followed your recipe to a t, except reduced the temp to med high. They were wonderful, except for the very dark frosting that almost tastes burnt. I’ve been cooking and baking for over 35 years, so I don’t think it’s anything I did wrong, but then again, I might of. So I’m wondering if you ran into this at all? Your frosting in the picture is beautiful and want mine to look like that! Thank you!!
    Nikki

  35. Noble Pig 41

    Hmmm, never had that happen with this recipe but have done something similar when working with sugar for other recipes. All of our stoves are different and sounds like even med-high was too hot for your stove?

  36. Nice post and photos.
    At first I was not sure about this recipe. Tried it. Great. Glad I did. I added your link to my blog, Baking is my Zen.
    link to bakingismyzen.blogspot.com
    ~ Carmen

  37. Cathy W 43

    This recipe is from Cuisine at Home. I subscribe to this magazine and have found their recipes to be fantastic. The Pumpkin Bars with bacon are awesome!

  38. Karly 45

    I made these last night for a bacon-themed dinner (which I heart my friends for thinking of!!) and they were AMAZING. I was a little nervous about how thick the bar batter was, but it turned out moist, dense, and delicious. As for the frosting, I stirred constantly while on high heat just to make sure it didn’t scorch and then lost track of how long it was in the mixer bowl…but it still turned out. LOL, I also did a calorie calculation which was a horrible idea because I really wanted to eat like half the pan. Hands down, a perfectly decadent treat. : )

  39. These look amazing! I’m making them for a bake sale next week. I hope I don’t eat them all first! I love bacon in my desserts too. And also in my donuts.

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