Erica recently joined me grocery shopping, which is not one of her favorite things. She was pretty grumpy, but perked up when she saw two bakery samples; carrot cake and pumpkin bars. Erica was most interested in the bars because her Daddy calls her “Pumpkin.” After trying both samples, we decided to get the pumpkin bars. They were not displayed by the samples, so we went to look for them.
Still unable to find them we approached the bakery counter. In front of us was an elderly woman who was angrily protesting the lack of a garbage can near the samples. She declared that without a close garbage can, people would just leave their sample cups littered about the bakery. Then she looked up and pointed at us with the longest most accusatory finger I have ever seen and yelled, “And they had FOUR samples and I bet their cups are spread all over place!”
Dumbfounded I said nothing and merely held up our stack of sample cups. It proved that we did indeed have four samples, but that they were not dropped onto bread shelves or tossed into cupcake racks.
I decided to discontinue the pumpkin bars search and bake at home. Since Erica had pumpkin on her mind, I made what has become known at our house as “Our Little Pumpkin” Crunch.
There are many versions of this recipe out there, but I find this one is the best. Not only is it delicious, it is super quick to make, you can whip it up in about five minutes. When we entertain, I make it right before my guests arrive and let it bake while they are here. It smells so delicious and the house feels so homey. Serve it warm with whipped cream or ice cream and you have a quick, upgraded version of the standard pumpkin pie. An entire dessert for less than the price of a few pumpkin bars… plus, no one will count your sample cups!
1 cup whole milk
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 tsp. pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp. salt
3 whole eggs
1 yellow cake mix
1 ½ sticks butter melted
Mix first 7 ingredients together until they are very smooth. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch cake pan. Sprinkle contents of yellow cake mix evenly on top of pumpkin mixture. Drizzle melted butter on top. (For those of you with no peanut allergies in your house, you can top with chopped pecans.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.