This recipe makes a small batch of one of my favorite pumpkin bar recipes. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Chocolate Bars start with a layer of pumpkin sheet cake with the perfect amount of pumpkin spice flavor. Chocolate chips melted in heavy cream (ganache) and a rich cream cheese frosting mixture get spooned over the top before the layers all get swirled together and baked.
Get your printer turned on and your recipe box handy. You're going to want to make this one of your favorite pumpkin recipes too.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This recipe makes a small batch of the best pumpkin bars ever. If you don't need a half-sheet pan of pumpkin bars, this recipe is for you.
- This smaller amount is great for gift-giving or tucking a few in on a cookie tray or cookie exchange plate. Imagine how gorgeous they would look on your Thanksgiving dessert table.
- I have adapted this small batch from my full-sized recipe which makes 36 bars. You can easily double this recipe in the recipe card if you need more.
Ingredients and Variations
- The ingredients for this recipe are, for the most part, household staples from the grocery store.
- The one we really need to discuss is the pumpkin puree. Please note that you need to use pumpkin puree in this recipe, not pumpkin pie filling. They are not the same. Pumpkin puree is pure pumpkin, while pumpkin pie filling has other ingredients like pumpkin pie spice and milk. It contains too much liquid and will ruin your dessert.
- You can substitute ¾ brown sugar for the granulated sugar in the cake batter but not in the cream cheese mixture.
- Coconut oil would work well in this recipe.
Full ingredients list & measurements are provided in the recipe card.
Spray a 7"x11" or 8"x8" baking pan with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
Add chocolate chips butter and cream to the heavy-bottomed pot.
Over low heat stir constantly until the chocolate chips are completely melted.
In a small bowl beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add ¼ cup of sugar and the vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth.
Add one of the eggs to the mixing bowl with the beaten cream cheese mixture.
Beat on low speed until just combined. Do not over mix.
In a bowl add the flour, remaining sugar, cinnamon, baking powder & soda & salt.
Whisk the dry ingredients to combine completely. Set flour mixture aside.
To another bowl add the pumpkin, oil, 2 eggs, and oil.
Whisk the pumpkin mixture until well combined and smooth.
Add the pumpkin puree mixture to the dry ingredients.
Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth.
Layer the pumpkin cake batter into the baking dish and smooth the top.
Spoon the cream cheese mixture and chocolate ganache over the top.
Use a thin spreader or knife to swirl the layers to create a pretty pattern.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and firm.
Cool in pan to room temperature, cut into bars, and dust with powdered sugar.
All pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting (or any type of dairy in the recipe) should be refrigerated. Pumpkin bars made with sugar can typically be left overnight on the counter. I like to store all my pumpkin bars in the refrigerator to give them a longer life span and concentrate the flavors and texture.
Looking for More Pumpkin Desserts?
Fall is all about desserts like these, with great pumpkin flavor.
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- Large mixing bowl
- Small mixing bowls
- Baking pan 7"x11". You can use an 8"x8" square pan, but the bars will be taller and more cakelike.
Food Storage Tips
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days. Freeze for several months. We actually preferred the flavor and texture the next day after chilling in the fridge.
- The expert tip I want to share concerns the swirl. To achieve a smooth beautiful swirling of the layers, use something without a point like a knife. A thin offset spatula or something like my beautiful aged butter knife works the best. Stick the implement down through all layers and drag it around in a pattern you like. The colors, especially the pumpkin cake orange, will pop when baked.
My spouse and I devoured a batch of these over a couple of days time. We accomplished it by having a couple of pumpkin bars with every cup of hot coffee we drank. I can say for sure that this is absolutely the best pairing. I suppose a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Chocolate Bar with a glass of wine would be a lovely too, but we can drink more coffee than we can wine. If you love pumpkin muffins you will love my latest recipe, Bakery Style Muffins for Two.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Chocolate Bars
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- Large mixing bowl
- Small mixing bowl
- Medium mixing bowl
- 7" x 11" baking pan You can use an 8"x8" and the bars will be slightly taller and more cakelike.
- 3 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (scant) pumpkin puree
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheet with baking spray or line with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan heat the chocolate chips, cream, and butter over low heat stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly.
- In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- Add ¼ cup of the sugar and the vanilla. Beat on medium until smooth.
- Add one egg and beat on low until just combined. Set aside.
- In the large mixing bowl add the flour, the remaining sugar, the baking powder, the baking soda, cinnamon, and the salt. Whisk until combined.
- In the medium bowl whisk to mix the pumpkin, the remaining egg, and the oil until smooth.
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth and the flour is all moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Alternately spoon the cream cheese mixture and the chocolate mixture in dollops over the top of the pumpkin mixture in the pan.
- Using a thin offset spatula or butter knife swirl through the batter slightly to marble.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set. If you used an 8"x8" pan you will need a bit more baking time and may need a foil tent over the top towards the end of the baking time to prevent over-browning.
- Cool in the pan on a wire rack. When completely cooled and set cut into bars with a sharp knife. Store in the refrigerator.
Approximate nutrition information is provided as a convenience and courtesy only. You are encouraged to do your own calculations if precise data is required.
We take every effort to ensure that the estimated meal cost per serving is accurate. We use a meal cost analysis application that estimates the cost of a recipe based on groceries purchased at a Walmart store in my geographical area, northern California.