Celebrating National Pumpkin Day with PUMPKIN CARAMEL spice bars!
This post is sponsored by Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make two sugar bugs possible.
Can we talk about how perfect these pumpkin caramel spice bars are? This simple bar cookie recipe features the easiest pumpkin caramel layer sandwiched between a spiced oatmeal cookie. The warm spices and gooey pumpkin caramel create a positively addicting bar!
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This recipe is going to jump to the top of your favorite fall treats because it's SO easy. It's also pumpkin caramel AND oatmeal spice AND chocolate chips. Talk about a trifecta of amazing flavors!!
HOW DO YOU MAKE PUMPKIN CARAMEL?
Friends, this is the easiest caramel sauce you are ever going to make! No melting sugar, no candy thermometers, no worrying about burning the caramel. What's the secret? Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk.
Did you know that Eagle Brand® has been around since 1856? It's the brand my mom always has in the pantry and the brand I like to use in my baking as well. I love their ingredient list ~ milk and sugar. That's it. It's truly the secret to the super simple and positively delicious pumpkin caramel sauce!
To create the pumpkin caramel sauce; combine canned pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar. Add in the sweetened condensed milk and stir to fully combine.
LET'S MAKE THE OATMEAL SPICE LAYER
The oatmeal spice layer uses melted butter and comes together in a snap! No mixer required.
First combine the dark brown sugar, flour, old-fashioned rolled oats, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg in a bowl. Then add the melted butter and mix until well combined.
PUTTING THE PUMPKIN CARAMEL SPICE BARS TOGETHER
Reserve 1 ½ cups of the oatmeal spice mixture aside. Press the remaining oatmeal spice base into the bottom of a prepared 9x13 baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
After the base has baked for 10 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the baked crust. Pour the pumpkin caramel over the chocolate chips. Then crumble the remaining oatmeal spice mixture over the pumpkin caramel.
Bake the bars for about another 35 minutes, until the edges are light golden brown. Remove the bars from the oven and cool completely before cutting. You can speed up the cooling process by putting the bars in the refrigerator.
TIPS AND FAQ FOR MAKING THE BARS
- Do I have to line the pan with parchment paper? No, but the parchment paper allows you to lift the cool bars out of the pan to make cutting them easier. If you don't have parchment paper, you can use aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray.
- Do I have to use dark brown sugar? No, the recipe works with light brown sugar as well, but the dark brown sugar adds a nice richness to the flavor.
- Are the chocolate chips necessary? While many people would argue that chocolate is always necessary, no, you do not have to use them. I tested the recipe with chocolate chips and without them. The batch I made for these photos was made half with and half without. Everyone who tested these bars for me preferred the version with the chocolate chips.
- Is it necessary to have the bars cool completely? Unfortunately, yes. The pumpkin caramel layer needs time to firm up prior to cutting the bars. They will still taste amazing without being completely cool, but you will have a gooey mess on your hands and no chance for clean cuts and pretty bars that stay intact. It takes about 4 hours at room temperature to cool.
- Can I halve this recipe? Yes! The recipe halves perfectly, just bake in an 8x8 baking pan.
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- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 (14oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper*, leaving overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out of the pan. Set aside. In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Add the melted butter and mix to combine.
- Save out 1 ½ cups of the oatmeal spice base and set aside. Press the remaining oatmeal spice base into the bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
- While the oatmeal base is cooking, prepare the pumpkin caramel. In a medium size bowl combine the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir to fully combine.
- After the base has baked for 10 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crust. Pour the pumpkin caramel over the chocolate chips. Crumble the remaining 1 ½ cups of oatmeal base over the pumpkin caramel. Bake about another 35 minutes, until the edges are light/golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely (minimum of 4 hours) before cutting into 24 squares. You can speed up the cooling process by putting the bars in the refrigerator.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
*If you don't have parchment paper, you can line the pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
PaperChef Parchment Paper for Baking: Multipurpose Nonstick Parchment Sheets, Oven Safe, No Grease or Butter Needed, Ideal for Cooking and Roasting, Biodegradable, Kosher-Certified (205 sq ft roll)
USA Pan Bakeware Rectangular Cake Pan, 9 x 13 inch, Nonstick & Quick Release Coating, Made in the USA from Aluminized Steel
Duralex 100010 Made In France Lys Stackable 10-Piece Bowl Set
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 203mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 2gSugar: 22gProtein: 3g
The nutrition information is an estimate and may not be entirely accurate.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?