here's a fact about me- im not super into pumpkin. pumpkin spice, yes. chai spice, yes. give me all the warm cozy spices. but, pumpkin just doesn't do much for me. that is, until now. this recipe takes everything i love about fall desserts and puts it into the ultimate fall treat. these caramelized white chocolate buttercream pumpkin bars are it. the best pumpkin dessert ive ever had.
ok, what makes THIS recipe special?
oh, that would be the LAYERS and layers of flavor. but, seriously, they work so well together! here are the highlights:
- pumpkin spice
- brown butter (the best)
- brown sugar
- caramelized white chocolate
- creamy mascarpone
- toasted walnuts
im literally drooling while typing this. seriously. its not often i go back for thirds, fourths, ok..... half the sheet pan's worth before "deciding" the recipe was perfect. grab my tips tips to make the perfect caramelized white chocolate, here.
pumpkin pairs well with
ok, for all you pumpkin lovers out there, you probably already know this! but, for the non pumpkin obsessed among us (hey!!), pumpkin pairs well with SO MANY things. here are just a few:
- cayenne, chilies + pepper
- allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg + vanilla
- browned butter, butter, cream, cream cheese, mascarpone, milk + whipped cream
- almonds, hazelnuts, pecans + walnuts
in case you're interested, these caramelized white chocolate buttercream pumpkin bars have "a few" of those perfect pairings! aka, they're going to be delicious!
some of my favorite ingredients to make this
this is a simple cake, so quality ingredients make a big difference! here are some of my personal pantry favorites.
- libby's canned pumpkin
- white chocolate bars
- pre caramelized white chocolate (dulcey)
- vanilla bean paste
more fall dessert inspiration
- chai spice carrot loaf cake
- spiced walnut streusel pumpkin bread
- pumpkin tahini chocolate chip cookies
- chai spice apple cupcakes with tahini buttercream
caramelized white chocolate buttercream pumpkin bars
- stand mixer with paddle attachment
- 9X13 baking pan
- parchment paper
- baking sheet
brown butter pumpkin bars
- 2 c all purpose flour (240g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (see notes)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 c unsalted butter (227g), browned and cooled to room temperature (170g) (see notes)
- 1 c packed light brown sugar (220g)
- ¼ c sugar (50g)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 c pumpkin puree
caramelized white chocolate mascarpone buttercream + toasted walnuts
- 6 oz. caramelized white chooclate (150g) (see notes)
- 1 c unsalted butter, softened (113g)
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 2 ½ c powedered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (alt. use vanilla extract)
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓-1/2 c crushed walnuts, lightly toasted
brown butter pumpkin bars
- To make the brown butter, melt butter in a clear heavy bottom pot. Once the butter starts to foam, whisk continuously until brown bits start to form. Remove from heat, pour into clean bowl, skim the foam from the top and cool to room temperature (30 minutes).
- Line 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, browned butter, and sugar until smooth and well combined. Add eggs, beating well after each one until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla bean paste, beating until well combined.
- Add dry ingredients to the wet ½ batch at a time. Slowly beat each time until JUST combined. A few flour streaks is okay! Drop evenly sized scoops into the prepared pan. Evenly press batter/dough into the pan.
- Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Pull from the oven, and allow to cool min. 60 minutes. Pumpkin bars should be completely cool before frosting.
caramelized white chocolate mascarpone buttercream
- Return caramelized white chocolate to liquid form by placing in a microwave safe bowl and heating in 20 second intervals (stirring after each) until melted. Cool to room temperature.
- In a stand mixer, with paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. On the lowest speed, beat in the mascarpone cheese with butter until well combined. Go slowly or you risk the cheese breaking. Once combined, slowly beat in cool (but still liquid) caramelized white chocolate. Add powdered sugar, a generous tablespoon at a time, beating slowly to combine. After adding about half the powdered sugar, add in the salt and vanilla bean paste. Beat until well combined. Add the remaining half of the sugar, a generous tablespoon at a time, beating until well combined. Once all the sugar is added, beat frosting on med-high until smooth. Using a palette knife or spatula, spread frosting on top of cooled pumpkin bars.
- To toast walnuts, line walnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Cool and roughly chop. Scatter on top of frosting.
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