These crumb bars are for all of you out there who don't like pie crust -- to which I say, you're craaaazzzzy, but we can still be friends. :)
Basically, imagine taking a cinnamon-spiced, brown sugar-infused whole wheat dough and a rich, nutty crumble topping smattered with graham cracker crumbs and dotted with pecan bits, and then adding a pumpkin pie filling to the center. It bakes up into a base that's a little cake-like at room temperature and a bit more cookie-like when chilled, layered with that creamy, spiced pumpkin filling and topped off with so many crumbles of sweet, nutty goodness. It's heaven in food form.
It's getting to the point where it's actually starting to feel a little like fall around here - cool, cloudy mornings and a tiny bit of sweatshirt weather - and all the fall spices that get ignored in my kitchen the rest of the year are starting to make an appearance. There have been LOTS of gingerbread man cookies (so excited to share that recipe!) and wayyy to many batches of these pumpkin pie bars, which, in reality, can never actually be considered a problem. ;) This is one of those recipes that makes your whole house smell like cozy fall perfection as the bars bake, and I think that alone has made fall seem so much more real than it did a few weeks ago. When you're all comfy inside with a cool breeze blowing in through the windows and smells of cinnamon + ginger + nutmeg wafting through the room, it's hard not to feel a little fall-lovin'.
I've definitely been calling these bars breakfast since batch #1 (hey - they are whole wheat after all), but they'd also be perfect for a late afternoon treat or dessert or just whenever crumb bars call to you during the day. And with that gorgeous crumble topping, they may even beat out pumpkin pie. You can always add a dollop of fresh whipped cream and totally call it a new version of a classic - because we all know pumpkin pie WITH a crumb topping must be where it's at.
Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars
Swap out pie crust for a moist, cakey base and crumble topping in these easy Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars.
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: one 9" x 13" pan 1x
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) canned pumpkin purée
- 2 ⅜ ounces (⅓ cup) granulated sugar
- 2 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ginger
- 2 eggs
- 10 ⅝ ounces (2 ½ cups, spoon and level) whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 ounces (⅔ cup, packed) brown sugar
- 6 ounces (¾ cup) coconut oil, melted, divided
- 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 ½ ounces (1 cup) graham cracker crumbs
- 2 ounces (½ cup) pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9" x 13" baking pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or using a bowl and handheld electric mixer), beat the pumpkin, sugar, cream cheese, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, and ginger together on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating each in on medium-high until well-incorporated, and wiping down the bowl and beater as needed. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the brown sugar and 4 ounces (½ cup) coconut oil together until well-combined. Beat in the whole egg and yolk one at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold in just until fully incorporated.
- Set aside about 7 ½ ounces (¾ cup) of dough and press the remaining into the bottom of the prepared pan in a flat, compact layer (using your fingertips and/or a wide/flat spatula). Spread the pumpkin pie filling over this layer and shake the pan gently to even it out.
- Add the graham cracker crumbs and pecans to the reserved dough and rub in with hands until the entire mixture is evenly crumbly. Mix in the remaining 2 ounces (¼ cup) coconut oil - the mixture will still be crumbly but should start to clump. Use your hands to continue clumping the dough together into large crumbles. Sprinkle crumbles evenly over top of bars to cover.
- Bake bars in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the top is turning golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before using foil to lift from pan and slice.
- Store crumb bars in an airtight container. They can be kept for a few days at room temperature (for a softer, lighter bar), or refrigerated for longer storage.