Pumpkin isn’t just for Thanksgiving.
If you’re not sure what to do with those several cans of extra pumpkin that you bought on sale in the fall (because who doesn’t need a half-dozen large cans of pureed squash on the shelves?), then these Pumpkin Gingersnap Magic Bars might be just what you need.
Magic bars are layered bars with a crumb crust and varied toppings held together with condensed milk. They have been around for decades under different names: Hello Dollies, Garbage Bars, 7 Layer Bars…
This variation is based on a recipe from Taste of Home. I switched the crust to gingersnaps, upped the cream cheese a bit, deleted the pumpkin pie spices (not everything with pumpkin needs pumpkin pie spice) and added candied ginger to the toppings.
The cream cheese cuts the sweetness of the bars a bit, and the pumpkin and candied ginger work together to add a bit of variety to your holiday sweet selection.
These are just as easy as typical magic bars, with one additional step. You’ll need to beat the cream cheese and pumpkin together so that they are smooth before you stir in the condensed milk.
The bars are somewhat softer than traditional magic bars, but they hold together well when cooled. Spreading the toppings over the base before adding the condensed milk keeps them in place.
I usually make my own condensed milk, so this recipe calls for 1 cup rather than the 1-1/4 cup (310 ml) that a small purchased can holds. If you are using the cans, you can just add the additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) to the recipe – it won’t have a big effect on the end results. (You might want to try making your own condensed milk though- it’s fast and easy to prepare in your blender, and much cheaper than the canned product.)
- 2 cups / 500 ml gingersnap crumbs
- ½ cup / 125 ml butter, melted
- ⅔ cup / 160 ml dried cranberries
- ⅔ cup / 160 ml white chocolate chips
- ¼ cup / 60 ml finely chopped candied ginger
- ½ cup / 60 ml pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- 1 cup / 250 ml condensed milk (see note)
- 4 oz / 113 g cream cheese
- 1 cup / 250 ml pumpkin puree
- 1 cup / 250 ml coconut, toasted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom of 8x8-inch baking pan.
- Sprinkle cranberries, white chocolate chips, ginger and pecan over gingersnap crust.
- In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin and beat until completely mixed. Stir in condensed milk and mix thoroughly.
- Pour pumpkin mixture over the ingredients in the baking pan.
- Sprinkle evenly with toasted coconut.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Let cool completely before serving.
You can make your own condensed milk using this recipe. If you buy the small cans, there will be slightly more than 1 cup in each can. If you don't want to have a small bit left over, you can use the whole can in this recipe. It will not make a big difference to the final product.