Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Oct 30, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Libations used: 2 tsps bourbon
Libations left over: None, but you can make this Bourbon, Pear & Ginger Cocktail while the bars bake...
Halloween is tomorrow, so I'm in total pumpkin mode right now.  Heck, I've even been putting it in my cocktails, like in this Midnight Pumpkin libation.  I've been telling my co-workers that I would bring in a Lush Chef treat, so on a warm fall afternoon, I threw open my door and turned on the oven to start baking.  I love all of Joy the Baker's recipes and her style (Joy, can we be friends?  We both live in the SaMo/Venice area?), and I had been waiting until October to bust out her recipe for Pumpkin Pie Bars.  I'm not the biggest pumpkin pie fan, because it's just too much pumpkin, but I love these because they're bite size and the filling has a lighter pumpkin flavor with the cream cheese and egg added to it.  The crumble bottom and topping also adds a nice texture and breaks up the filling.  There are a couple teaspoons of bourbon in this recipe, but you can always leave it out...oh, but wait...why would you do that?  I topped mine with butterscotch chips, but you can also do chocolate chips if you desire.  The co-workers obviously gobbled these up and were in a sugar-high heaven by noon.

Pumpkin Pie Bars - makes 24-28 bars
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 15 oz pumpkin purée
  • 1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice or 1 tsp each of cinnamon, walnut and ground allspice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsps bourbon (I used 101 proof Wild Turkey)
  • Butterscotch or chocolate chips to sprinkle on top

- Preheat oven to 350.
- Line a 13x9" baking pan with aluminum foil, with the ends of the foil folded over the sides.
- Grease the foil with shortening.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar and brown sugar.
- Cut in the butter and combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can use a pastry blender, but I just like to use my hands.
- Stir in the oats and walnuts.
- Reserve 1 cup of the oat mixture.
- Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a stand mixer or large bowl, add the cream cheese, eggs, pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract and bourbon.
- Mix until well blended.
- Pour over the crust.
- Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture and butterscotch chips on top.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Let cool about 20 minutes before transferring the bars from the pan to a wire rack.
- Let cool completely before cutting up.