Fall is definitely in the air….and most definitely in MY kitchen 😀 Let’s just say things like pumpkin, apples, and cinnamon have been making pretty frequent appearances!
Yesterday, it was 55 degrees and downright nippy outside! My younger brother had a ball game yesterday afternoon, and I was huddled under two blankets the entire time freezing my tail off…Ick. That’s the only thing I don’t like about fall, those constant reminders that winter is coming. (winter in Wisconsin isn’t exactly fun)
Anywho, the main thing I love about fall is obviously THE FOOD!! Oh, boy this season is just getting started for me! I have a longggg list of must-make fall foods to share with y’all, so expect some more fall doozies coming soon!
These amazing squares were at the top of that list today, and boy, is it a great one. Quite possibly my new favorite fall recipe, and lemme tell you, if it’s at the top of my favorite fall foods than you can bet it’s gonna be something incredible.
What we have here is a shortbread jam-packed with lots of fall goodies: We’ve got moist pumpkin, nutty oats, spicy cinnamon, and fragrant vanilla. Then drizzled to perfection with my homemade caramel glaze. *swoon from happiness* ♥ Fall dreams in every bite ♥
I’m kicking myself for not making these amazing bars sooner—I was pretty skeptical about how they would turn out, but I am sooo glad I decided to try it anyway. So worth it. They are so easy and call for basic pantry ingredients that you probably have on hand right now!
I was kind of worried about how this shortbread would result, because when you’re working with moist pumpkin in something like shortbread, there’s always a lot of risk involved in how your texture will turn out. But I nailed the texture. It was perfectttt..Tender on the outside and chewy on the inside just like a good shortbread should be.
When I was confronted with how to compliment the pumpkin flavors this shortbread, I chose cinnamon and vanilla, which collided with the pumpkin perfectly.
Now, about the oats: In fear that my shortbread would turn out tough and dry, I decided against using old-fashioned oats and instead used quick-cooking oats. This is not optional—using quick-cooking oats will keep your shortbread tender and chewy to the last bite.
Let’s talk about the shortbread for a quick sec: (The shortbread in this recipe is slightly based off of this recipe.) The shortbread dough is similar in texture to cookie dough, except shortbread does not have any leavening agents in it. This makes it super easy to work with. Simply press the dough in your pan and prick it a few times with a fork. It took my shortbread an easy 30 minutes in the oven. Once your shortbread is done, immediately cut into squares but do not remove from the pan. Let your shortbread cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack.
Now, onto my favoriteee part 😀 The caramel! This caramel glaze is easily made on the stove in less than 5 minutes and calls for only 3 ingredients! 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons honey, and a pinch of salt. This is definitely the best caramel recipe I have ever discovered and I’m pretty sure you’ll agree after one taste 😉
Just a tip though: Don’t prepare the caramel until right before you’re ready to drizzle the bars—it hardens up pretty quickly..if you find that it’s cooling too quickly while you’re drizzling, warm it slightly on the stove until it’s back to liquid consistency.
I like to eat these pumpkin-y squares immediately after topping them with the warm caramel….Pumpkin, caramel-y HEAVEN. Am I the only one who LOVES pumpkin and caramel together?? Sooo tasty! 😀
I’m just going crazy over these gorgeous things. Like I said: Fall is in the air and I am definitely making the most of it! This season is way too short 😉
Pumpkin Oat Shortbread Squares With Caramel
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 2/3 cup pure pumpkin
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 in baking pan.
In a medium bowl, beat butter, pumpkin, honey, and vanilla until smooth. In another medium bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add dry mixture to liquid and gently stir until a ball of dough forms. Do not over-mix.
Press shortbread dough into prepared baking pan. Prick dough with a fork. Bake at 325 F 30 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Immediately cut shortbread into 12 squares. Let shortbread cool completely in pan on a wire cooling rack.
Once shortbread is cooled, remove bars from pan and prepare the caramel topping: In small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring butter and honey to a boil, stirring constantly until caramel is thickened. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Immediately drizzle caramel over shortbread bars and let bars stand 5 minutes before serving.
Store squares in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
Check out my other fall madness!
(All you need is handful of ingredients and your slow-cooker!)
(My favorite chili recipe with a special ingredient: Pumpkin!)
(Light and fluffy pumpkin spice muffins with a pecan topping and a vanilla icing!)
Check out all my fall recipes!