blissful eats with tina jeffers: Pumpkin hazelnut bars

I love pumpkin and all winter squashes.   It’s such a versatile ingredient to experiment with and I am always looking for new ways to add them to recipes.  When the leaves start to fall and the weather turns cold I set aside the chocolate and turn to the rich spicy flavors that define the season.  I love pumpkin pie but these little bars come together quickly and are a fraction of the work of a traditional pumpkin pie.  Instead of a traditional pie crust the base for these bars consist of a rich hazelnut shortbread and the filling is enriched with the addition of cream cheese which makes them ultra creamy and rich.   

Pumpkin hazelnut bars




For the shortbread crust:


½ cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup light brown sugar


Pumpkin filling:


8 ounces cream cheese softened

2 eggs

¾ cup natural cane sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon vanilla



Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.


Place the hazelnuts, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process the mixture until the hazelnuts are finely ground.


In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Add the hazelnut mixture and beat until a soft dough forms.  Press the dough evenly and firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 15 minutes until the shortbread is set and beginning to brown around the edges.   Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.


While the crust is baking, prepare clean bowl for your stand mixer and add the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt and vanilla.  Mix until well combined and the mixture is smooth.  Pour the pumpkin batter over the shortbread crust and bake for 30-35 minutes until the filling is set. 

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