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updated: 10/26/2010 5:15 PM

Pumpkin Spice Party Bars

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Crust

1 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (see note)

3 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 teaspoon ground ginger

6 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

1 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (see note)

1 teaspoons ground cloves

1 teaspoons baking powder

teaspoon baking soda

teaspoon salt

cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 large eggs at room temperature

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

1 cup sugar

cup light brown sugar

Frosting

cup unsalted butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar, divided

2 tablespoons sour cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease bottom of heavy duty 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Set aside.

For the crust: In a small bowl, stir graham crumbs, sugar and ginger. Add melted butter and stir to coat. Press evenly into bottom of greased pan. Bake 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

For the filling: In large mixing bowl, whisk flour, spices, baking powder, soda and salt until evenly combined. Set aside.

In separate medium bowl, whisk melted butter and eggs until smooth. Add pumpkin puree and sugars. Mix until combined. Stir into flour mixture and mix by hand until smooth. Scrape bowl well.

Spoon batter over graham crust. Smooth top with spatula. Bake 30--35 minutes until center just springs back when touched. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon sour cream. Beat on low speed until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar and sour cream. Beat until combined. Scrape bowl well. If too thick, add sour cream as needed.

Frost bars and sprinkle with chopped nuts or festive sanding sugars. Slice into 24 pieces. Bars keep five days tightly covered and refrigerated.

Serves 24.

Baker's hint: Plain graham crackers can be substituted for the cinnamon variety. Add teaspoon ground cinnamon to the crumbs. If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, combine 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon, teaspoon ground nutmeg, teaspoon ground ginger and teaspoon ground allspice.

Nutrition values per serving: 251 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated), 34 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein, 55 mg cholesterol, 198 mg sodium.