I admit it. I confess. And, to Kroger stores everywhere, I am sorry.
I, like many of my Drowsy Water Ranch counterparts, am a baked good snob.
You see, it all started so innocently. In the summer, we just show up for lunch and dinner and end up getting spoiled. For those few, fleeting weeks that we welcome families and friends here at Drowsy Water Ranch, we also welcome to our diet homemade baked goods: homemade cinnamon rolls, homemade breads, homemade cookies, cakes, and pies. Yes, we are spoiled so much in summer that, in winter, grocery store bought baked goods just don't do the trick, they don't hit the spot, they don't give us the same delicious fix.
Due to my snobby condition, I am often forced to bake our favorites in the off-season. This time of year we can't go with out the Drowsy Water Pumpkin Bars. They are soft and sweet, spicy and nutty.
Bake them for fall or for Thanksgiving, or for Veteran's Day, Easter, Hanukkah, and the Fourth of July. Make no excuses, just bake.
To make the bars, raid the pantry for the essentials: flour, sugar, nutmeg, cloves and/or ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda, pumpkin, oil, milk, eggs, vanilla, and raisins.
Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cloves or ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon of both), 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
In a separate bowl, combine your 1 cup pumpkin, 1/3 cup oil, 1/4 cup milk, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix together. A small sample at this point is allowed. Or a large sample. Or four large samples.
Stir in 1/2 cup of raisins. Re-sample as needed.
Spread into a greased 9x13 pan and put in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
At this point, you should start making your topping. Combine 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup soft butter, 2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I splurged and used pecans, but walnuts are good too).
Then watch out.
This is when I had a monster attack while pursuing spicy, sweet, pumpkin greatness.
My monster came inside from working on a fence with his dad. He just marched right in like he owned the joint, threw his boots off, climbed on the counter and immediately started goofing off.
And then, to make things worse, the phone rang, creating the opportunity for the monster to continue his surprise attack. When I was off the phone, I came back to this:
It is a monster mix of a few things. First, was the entire remaining contents of my box of baking soda. Next, I am assuming, came the raisins. Then, as a final hoorah, or maybe as a last-ditch attempt to salvage the concoction, came the multi-colored sprinkles. Soda, raisin, and sprinkles: a recipe created only in the mind of a two-year old.
Needless to say, it was disgusting. Monster agreed and took the mix outside to use as dump truck hauling material. Maybe that was the intention all along...
And by now, the buzzer was going off on the timer. Time to put the topping on the bars, just spoon over the top gently, and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.
They come out looking something like this:
Cool, slice, and devour!
Drowsy Water Ranch Pumpkin Bars
For the bars:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ginger or cloves
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Combine dry ingredients (the first eight ingredients). In separate bowl, combine pumpkin, oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the flour mix to the pumpkin mix; mix for about 1 minute.
Stir in 1/2 cup raisins.
Spread into greased 9x13 pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
For the topping:
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soft butter
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
Combine and spoon over bars gently. Bake 3-5 minutes longer until topping is light brown.