I’ve had this recipe forever — one of those handwritten, spattered, tattered, cornerstone recipes. I love to make it in the fall when pumpkin is readily available. It has a nice autumn fragrance and a deep rich color that is so satisfying. It goes together in a snap and because it is in a jelly roll pan, it also bakes quickly. Less than 10 minutes to make it and 25 to bake and your dinner menu rises to a new level.
Serve with whipped topping to keep the carb count at about 13 carbs per serving. Or go for the classic cream cheese frosting spread over the cooled bars. The frosting uses about half the powdered sugar of most recipes so adds about 8 carbs per serving. It is light but flavorful and a perfect complement to the pumpkin flavor. Add walnuts halves in the center of each frosted serving for another classic fall touch. A perfect, moist and comforting transition dessert that leads us right into fall!
You can always substitute artificial sweeteners in recipes by following the directions on the package. Generally, I do not use them, especially in baking. That’s because sweeteners produce unhappy side affects for me – digestive disagreement, let’s just call it. I’m not alone since that side effect is not uncommon. Wheels doesn’t care for the taste. If you do choose to use artificial sweetening products for carb control or weight loss, check the nutrition label. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 1 teaspoon of sugar has 4.2 carbs. On the Nutrition Fact panel of Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking, it says that there are 2 carbs per ONE HALF teaspoon of sugar. Do the math and you may come to the same conclusion I did.
Bonus question — Did you know that pumpkin is both vegetable and fruit? Botanically, fruit is a flesh surrounding seeds. So cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and pumpkins are fruits. Vegetables are those things which do not have seeds as part of what is eaten. Celery, radishes, carrots and lettuces fall here. Confused? In culinary terms, fruit is sweet and fleshy and can be eaten raw. And everything else is considered a vegetable. The one thing we can be certain about is the tomato – well, sort of. The US Supreme Court ruled in 1983 that the tomato is a vegetable, even though it had been classified botanically for centuries as a fruit!
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