Pumpkin Sesame Bars
Are you on the hook to make dessert for Thanksgiving this year? While pumpkin pie is always a classic, I know that making a pie can be intimidating sometimes. I’ve been brainstorming a tasty pumpkin dessert that can be made ahead. Pumpkin and sesame popped into my head as a possible flavor duo. I felt like this pairing could make a dessert that wasn’t too sweet and also a bit out of the ordinary. After several attempts, I’ve come up with something I think you’ll enjoy!
First, you’ll preheat the oven and prepare your pan. If you want to cut the bars before serving, put parchment paper in a nine by thirteen pan. If you’re going to have people serve themselves directly from the pan, just grease it well.
Now onto the crust! I really like this crust. The sesame seeds add some crunch and also create a toasty flavor with the graham cracker crumbs. Make sure you use un-toasted sesame seeds because they will toast a bit when this all gets baked. In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, sesame seeds and melted butter until it starts to clump together.
Now you’ll pour this into your prepared pan and press, making sure it’s even and compressed. This ensures it doesn’t crumble into a million pieces when a bar is cut.
Onto the filling! Put the pumpkin and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat using the whisk attachment (you can also do this with a hand mixer).
Beat until it’s blended and smooth. Now add the brown sugar and eggs and beat again until everything is combined.
Now you’ll make the tahini swirl. If you haven’t had tahini before (aka tahini paste or sesame butter), it’s a sesame paste similar to peanut butter. Make sure you stir it before measuring it out because the oil often separates from the solids. You don’t want oily bars! Mix the tahini and maple syrup together in a small bowl and set it aside.
It’s time for the assembly! Pour your pumpkin mixture onto the crust and smooth it out.
Now dollop the tahini mixture onto that in six to eight mounds.
Take a butter knife and run it through the mounds, creating tahini swirls throughout the pumpkin. This not only evenly distributes the tahini but also looks pretty. 🙂
Now into the oven! Bake about forty minutes or until the bars are set.
Let it cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge about two hours. If cutting into bars before serving. Lift the parchment paper out of the pan which should lift the bars (you may need to loosen them along the edges). Cut into pieces and serve.
The bars will keep in the fridge covered for about four days.
What are some of your other less traditional pumpkin desserts?
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 10 tablespoons (1 stick + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350° and line a 9" by 13" pan with parchment is cutting bars before serving.
- Mix graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, sesame seeds and melted butter until it clumpS together. Pour this into your prepared pan and press into all the corners.
- Beat the pumpkin and cream cheese using the whisk attachment until it's blended and smooth. Add the brown sugar and eggs and beat again until everything is combined.
- Mix tahini and maple syrup together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Pour pumpkin mixture onto the crust and smooth.
- Dollop tahini mixture onto that in 6 or 8 mounds. Take a butter knife and run it through the mounds, creating tahini swirls throughout.
- Bake about 40 minutes or until set.
- Cool to room temperature and chill in the fridge about 2 hours.
- If cutting into bars before serving. Lift the parchment paper out of the pan which should lift the bars (you may need to loosen them along the edges). Cut into serving size pieces and serve.
- The bars will keep in the fridge covered for about 4 days.