So, who out there is officially tired of pumpkin spice? Okay, all of you who raised your hands, put them down now and I’ll pretend I didn’t see that. Because this is not your every day, run-of-the-mill pumpkin spice recipe. This is a bar with a traditional graham cracker crust, topped with a rich, decadent, fudgy brownie, heavily swirled with caramel made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice and smothered in crushed pecans.
This is a busy time of year, and this recipe uses a boxed brownie mix making things real simple for you. By all means, feel free to use a favorite homemade brownie recipe, but you’re just making things more difficult. Sorry, it had to be said. I always use Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie mix. I like it even better than my homemade brownies. Sorry, just keeping it real people.
That brings me to the use of pre-made caramels. Now, not to toot my own horn or anything , but I make dang good caramel
toot-toot. However, this is not a recipe in which you want to spend your efforts making caramel. Again, make life easier on yourself, use the bagged caramels. Kraft made it even easier and even unwrapped them for you. Thank you Kraft. You are going to enhance that caramel with delicious pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices, so the caramels themselves are not really the star here.
Ok, and for those of you who aren’t pumpkin spice fans, you will still go nuts (pun intended) for this recipe. My husband loathes pumpkin spice and he absolutely loved, loved, loved these brownies. The pumpkin is not overpowering at all.
And since I really am a traditionalist at heart, nothing goes better with caramel and chocolate than pecans. All you turtle lovers out there know what I’m talking about. Not a turtle fan? Leave them off. Like walnuts more than pecans? Use those. No worries. It’s all good. You’re still going to be blown away by the flavor and texture. The texture is magical. The caramel sinks into the brownie layer and creates a chewy fudge-like consistency. Almost like a brownie that maybe wasn’t quite cooked all the way, which I don’t know about you, but that is my favorite way to make brownies. yum.
Give these a try this holiday season. You’ll be a superstar and no one will ever know you made a few shortcuts along the way.
- 1 box brownie mix (and ingredients to make them)
- 2 c. crushed graham crackers
- 1 Tbls sugar
- 3 Tbls butter, melted
- 6.5 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped of course (I used Kraft Caramel Bits)
- ½ c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (apple pie spice would work also)
- ½ c. crushed pecans (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325F and lightly spray a 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside
- Mix crushed graham crackers, sugar and butter together and press into the baking dish
- Make the brownies according to package instructions and set aside
- In a small saucepan over medium heat combine caramels, pumpkin puree and spice and melt, stirring constantly until completely smooth, approximately 5 minutes and remove from heat.
- Pour the brownie mix over the graham cracker crust
- Drop the caramel by spoonfuls over the top, it will be fairly thick, then using a knife make a couple figure eights to swirl into the brownies. You don't want to combine, just swirl.
- Top with nuts, if using and bake for 50-60 minutes. Test with a toothpick. Bars should not be liquidy, but the toothpick will still be coated with fudge.
- Let cool completely then cut into desired size