I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Pumpkin Dulce de Leche Bars

‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin – and it is my favorite time of year.  I love pumpkin.  Sweet, savory, anyway it comes.  I go a little overboard with pumpkin – I buy all the seasonal pumpkin flavored items on the store shelves, and cook with pumpkin like crazy.  Check out these cookies, enchiladas, biscuits and tart.  You’ll see what I mean.

So here is the latest contribution to my long and ever growing list of pumpkin recipes.  Old fashioned, moist, cake-y pumpkin squares with a new-fangled swirl of decadent caramel dulce de leche.  And this is currently my favorite pumpkin incarnation.  I made my test batches, then made some more.  I didn’t share that batch.  I actually think these get better – more moist and gooey – after a couple of days.  If they last that long.

Pumpkin Dulce de Leche Bars

You’ll find canned dulce de leche at the grocery in the Latin foods section, or with the condensed milk.  If you can’t figure out what to do with the leftovers, I just don’t know what to do with you.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ cup (1 stick) butter

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup canned pumpkin puree

¾ cup canned dulce de leche

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 by 8 inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pie spice in a small bowl.  Cream the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, then beat in the egg and vanilla.  Reduce the speed of the mixer and gradually add the dry ingredients until just combined.  Beat in the pumpkin puree.

Measure the dulce de leche into a microwave safe measuring cup and microwave for 30 – 45 seconds, stirring halfway through, just to loosen it up.  Drizzle the dulce de leche over the top of the pumpkin batter.  Using a skewer or thin-bladed knife, swirl the dulce de leche through the batter.

Bake the bars for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Tightly covered, the bars will keep for several days.

Makes about 16 bars

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