Pumpkin pie crunch bars are everything you love about pumpkin pie, with none of the things you don’t, all baked up in a user friendly bar with a fluffy interior and a nutty crunch on top. Major yum!
pumpkin pie crunch bars are everything we love about pumpkin pie, but better!
Yet another easy pumpkin recipe because…I can’t help myself. And this one is super timely, it’s the perfect last minute Thanksgiving dessert. These pumpkin pie crunch bars have lots of classic dump cake dna, which is to say a very homey style of baking which does, yes, involve a cake mix. I’m going to bravely stand up and admit I do find them irresistible even though a few of you, I bet, wouldn’t touch a cake mix on a bet. No worries, though, I’ve got lots of other pumpkin recipes to keep you busy.
what’s in this post
- pumpkin pie crunch bars are everything we love about pumpkin pie, but better!
- what to expect
- pantry list for pumpkin pie crunch bars
- the pumpkin pie crunch bar method
- step 1. whisk together pumpkin layer
- step 2. Pour into un-greased pan.
- step. 3 top with cake mix
- step 4. melt butter
- step 5. drizzle butter
- step 6. add pecans
- step 6. bake
- step 7. let cool before slicing (or don’t)
- why we love them
- variations on pumpkin pie crunch bars
- pumpkin desserts rock
what to expect
These are moist fluffy bars, not super and even though they slice nicely you’ll need a plate and a fork to enjoy them. They bake up with a soft pumpkin layer topped with a butter-pecan crunchy layer.
If you’re a baker who doesn’t appreciate ambiguity, these might not be for you. They’re called bars, and and they’re definitely on the dessert bar spectrum, but they’re quite ‘squidgy’. Not the texture you normally expect in a bar. And there’s pumpkin pie in the name, but this is not pie (although the pumpkin layer tastes like the best pumpkin pie ever.)
But if you’re down for a maverick pumpkin dessert that resists classification and defies all norms, this non-conformist marvel might be your next favorite recipe!
pantry list for pumpkin pie crunch bars
- box of cake mix
- I used Duncan Hines Signature Spice Cake, but a regular yellow or vanilla cake will work great. If you use a non-spice cake mix you will want to add some pumpkin pie spices to the batter.
- canned pumpkin puree
- I like Libby’s. Be sure not to pick up pumpkin pie filling by accident!
- evaporated milk
the pumpkin pie crunch bar method
When you make use of a cake mix in a dessert recipe you automatically cut out several time consuming steps. It’s a win win during the busy holiday season.
step 1. whisk together pumpkin layer
Easy peasy, there’s no special equipment needed for this dessert.
step 2. Pour into un-greased pan.
No need for butter, cooking spray, or parchment!
step. 3 top with cake mix
Sprinkle the dry cake mix all over the puree. It will seem like a lot, but use it all, and try to get all areas evenly coated.
step 4. melt butter
Melt butter in the microwave or in a saucepan. Salted butter is nice to use for added flavor to your pumpkin pie crunch bars.
step 5. drizzle butter
Drizzle the melted butter all over the top of the cake mix.
step 6. add pecans
Sprinkle the chopped pecans across the surface. This is going to put extra crunch in pumpkin pie crunch bars!
step 6. bake
Bake for about 60-75 minutes, depending on your oven and pan, or until not jiggly and a toothpick inserted in center comes out without wet batter on it (It will be moist.) Tent with foil if it seems to be getting too dark towards the end of baking.
step 7. let cool before slicing (or don’t)
If you don’t mind somewhat messy slices, I say dig night in. You can even scoop this into small bowls and top with ice cream or whipped cream. You can also let cool completely and then refrigerate overnight before slicing, in which case you’ll get a slightly different texture. I prefer these pumpkin bars warm.
why we love them
The ease, of course. There aren’t many desserts that feed 24 that are this easy to throw together.
The pumpkin layer: it’s fluffy and delicious and dare I say better than pumpkin pie. Way better.
The crunch layer: adds such a yummy contrast to the soft pumpkin, and the toasty pecans are to die for.
variations on pumpkin pie crunch bars
Use a different kind of cake mix: in place of spice cake use vanilla or yellow cake. Add some pumpkin pie spice in this case.
Use walnuts instead of pecans, or leave them out for nut free bars.
Scoop the crunch into bowls instead of slicing. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
For a gluten free dessert use a gluten free cake mix.
Pumpkin Pie Crunch Bars
- 9×13 baking pan
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, milk, sugar, and eggs until nice and smooth.
- Pour this mixture into your un-greased pan.
- Top the pumpkin mixture with the dry cake mix. Sprinkle it evenly over the whole pan. It will seem like a lot, but use it all.
- Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the cake mix.
- Top with chopped pecans and bake for 65-75 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on your pan and your oven. Mine took 75 minutes. The bars are done when they don't jiggle in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter on it.
- Let cool on a rack. You can serve the bars warm, but they will be very soft. Or you can cool completely and refrigerate overnight for sharper slicing.