Pumpkin Bars with Penuche Frosting

Do you remember that time — oh, I don’t know, like two posts ago — when I boasted over my resolve for keeping the pumpkin seal intact?  Yeah, well it broke.  No, no, it wasn’t that same day.  It was the next day, and I am taking no responsiblity for my weakness decision to give-in.  I blame it completely on Maryanne, from Boston, who tempted my inbox with one of her family’s favorite pumpkin cookie recipes.  How could I resist soft, cake-like cookies smeared with a rich, smooth frosting?   Well, exactly — I couldn’t.

Now, this frosting isn’t just any frosting.  It’s a sweet explosion of caramel-y goodness in your mouth.  Penuche Frosting — where have you been all my life?  The fact that I have never eaten this sinful indulgence before, astounds me.  But I, of course, have total confidence in my ability to make up for our lost time together.  Starting with pumpkin bars, ending with pumpkin cookies, and maybe a pumpkin scone or two thrown in the middle.  Oh!, how I can’t wait to start eating pumpkin!  Shhhh, don’t tell Maryanne!     

*If you choose to make bars instead of cookies, pour the batter into a 9×13, greased pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes.

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350F and grease cookie sheets. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.  

In a separate bowl, cream together shortening, brown and white sugars.  Mix in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Add the dry flour mixture and combine. Stir in walnuts if desired.

Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.


In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the 3 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil and then stir for about 1 minute while it thickens. Cool slightly, then stir in the milk, and beat until smooth. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until frosting has reached desired consistency. Spread on cookies and enjoy!




Filed under All Posts, Recipes, Seasonal - Fall, Sweet Treats

7 responses to “Pumpkin Bars with Penuche Frosting

  1. Thanks for posting the instructions for bars and cookies! I think we will try the bars, but what would you recommend? Also we can’t wait to post this to all of our followers on twitter. They will love this, after all, it is #walnutwednesday! Cheers

  2. I am so happy that you tried it….I never would have thought of making squares. The frosting is the best, my husband “would say hold the cookie I just want the frosting” Your bloq is the best

  3. Yummy! Nice to have a versatile recipe that you can bake in two ways.
    🙂 Mandy

  4. Yoly

    I am dying to make these. They look DELICIOUS! I’m so glad you made the “decision” to break the pumpkin seal again. Yummy…

  5. Grant

    These were sooo good

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