Can you guess the secret ingredient in these amazing, moist Maple Pumpkin Bars? Let’s just say, this delicious fall favorite has a super nutty secret in more ways than one. 😉
Have you figured it out yet?… The secret “nutty” ingredient? If not, I’m going to leave you hanging for just a bit longer but if you just can’t wait, you can find it on the Maple Pumpkin Bars printable recipe here.
This recipe came from a friend. Last year I attended a neighborhood activity with a bunch of other women. There we each brought our favorite treat to share with the recipe. She brought the MOST AMAZING maple pumpkin cookies. They were so good, I think I ate 3 myself. It was one of the best treats I tasted that night and in a while. The flavors of pumpkin, warm fall spices, and sweet maple frosting were amazing. Naturally, I had to take this recipe home and try it for myself.
With a few tweaks, this recipe soon turned into the MOST AMAZING, BEST Maple Pumpkin Bars with a delicious nutty secret ingredient. Coconut! It sounds a little strange. I know but they are soooo yummy. My friends and family that don’t care for coconut still love these bars in all their nuttiness.
I know, I know… the description for these bars should really go something like this. Moist, nutty Maple Pumpkin Bars, full of warm fall-flavor spices, coconut, walnuts, pumpkin, and topped with sweet fluffy maple frosting. If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, I don’t know what will!
These bars come together fairly quickly. First, I cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Next, I add the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin puree. You want to make sure you use the 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has added sugar and spices that will make these bars taste way different.
Once all the “wet” ingredients are mixed together, I measure and mix the dry ingredients together. Once they’re mixed, I add them to the wet ingredients. Make sure you incorporate all the dry ingredients into the wet but don’t over mix it. Just mix until you only see a few specs of white. At that point, I fold in the coconut and walnuts.
If you’re thinking about skipping out on either of those, DON’T! Unless, of course, you have an allergy or loathing of them. They really do make these the BEST Maple Pumpkin Bars.
Once the nuts and coconut are mixed in, I spread the batter into a GREASED and lightly floured 9×13 inch pan. It goes into the oven at 350 degrees F. for about 23-25 minutes (ovens can cook a little differently so time may vary slightly).
While the bars are baking, I like to make the maple frosting. This frosting was inspired by one of my childhood favorites. As a little girl, my mom would let us pick out our own donut when we went to a bakery. My favorite was always the maple bars. Growing up, my favorite bakery maple bars with this amazing whipped maple frosting instead of an icing. It was the best. For these Maple Pumpkin Bars, I like to use a frosting that’s similar to the whipped maple frosting I had on those donuts so long ago.
To make the maple frosting, I whip the butter, sugar, and maple flavoring together. Once they’re whipped (about 2-3 minutes) I slowly add the heavy whipping cream and whip until it’s all incorporated in. The frosting should be thick but still easily spreadable. It should have stiff peaks but still be light and airy.
After the bars are baked, I let them cool completely before frosting. If you are in a hurry, pop the slightly cooled bars into the freezer to speed up the cooling process.
If you can feel any heat coming from the bars, DO NOT frost them. Frosting the bars while still warm will melt the frosting and turn your bars into a melted frosting mess. Trust me!
Once the bars are frosted, sprinkle chopped walnuts on top if desired. I think the added nuts on top act as a beautiful garnish/warning for those who may enjoy them. I keep the coconut secret tucked away inside. 😉
Click here for the printable recipe: MAPLE PUMPKIN BARS
If you want to make individual portions or cut down on bake time, you can use this recipe as a cookie recipe. Same ingredients but instead of baking in a 9×13 inch pan, drop 2-3 teaspoonful of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes (or until cookies spring bake when the top is pressed lightly). Cool and frost.
I hope you enjoy this recipe too!