Fall always has been and always will be my favorite time of year. Cool weather, jeans and sweatshirts, hot apple cider, pumpkin flavored everything, gorgeous leaves…..makes me smile just writing all that. It also means time for another family cook off! We started 7 years ago with a chili cook-off and bonfire at my parents house, has now turned into an annual event but with different cook-off themes. This year, everyone had to use pumpkin as an ingredient, which sounds easy because there are soooooo many recipes with pumpkin in it, however, it was extremely hard for that exact reason ~ too many delicious recipes to decide between! Do I go the savory route with a pumpkin apple brie flatbread, or the sweet route with a pumpkin pie praline dessert? If sweet, do I go with the classic pumpkin and cream cheese combo, or something more unique like pumpkin and chocolate or coconut? Ahhhhhh!!! Too many choices!
But, alas, I chose the unique sweet route and ended up tying for second place. Not bad at all! And really, how could anyone compete with the winning dish ~ pumpkin pulled beef, homemade pumpkin tortillas, toasted pepito seeds, cojita cheese, pumpkin cilantro crema, oh and not a single pumpkin ingredient came from a can. It was a good win and I can appreciate the culinary effort of roasting your own pumpkin from scratch. My dessert was a little daring but still very easy and safe, however, in my defense, we moved 1 week prior to this, so I wasn’t completely focused on my cook off entry this year. Next year will be a different story! Game on!
Pumpkin Layered Cookie Bar
- 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease an 8×8 or 9×9 square dish. Set aside.
- Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Press into the bottom of greased pan.
- In a bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over graham crust. Sprinkle with coconut flakes, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and pecans. Lightly press into pumpkin mixture.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned around edges and mostly set in the middle. The filling will be slightly jiggly but should not be liquid.
- Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Place in refrigerator until fully set and ready to serve. Cut into bars.