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Make This: Pumpkin Mousse Shortbread Bars

December 3rd 12:12pm, 2012



Has this crazy warm weather catapulted you back to craving the flavors of fall? Before you fully transition to your eggnog, nutmeg and cinnamon-based winter-time recipes, give these Pumpkin Mousse Shortbread Bars one last hurrah.

Pumpkin Mousse Shortbread Bars
Makes 9 to 12 bars

These bars are so easy to put together and, since they’re best served chilled, they can be made well in advance. The pumpkin mousse is soft and delicate; the shortbread is buttery and crisp, leaving a lovely lingering taste of fall.

4 oz. butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tsp. cold butter
¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup almond flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp. cold water
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup salted caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1 Tbsp. bourbon (optional)
½ tsp. pumpkin spice or allspice
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
Fresh whipped cream for serving

• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
• Press parchment paper into the bottom of a 11-by-17-inch baking pan, leaving some overhang on all sides.
• First, make the shortbread layer: In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the 4 ounces of room temperature butter and ½ cup of sugar until fluffy and creamy.
• Use a spatula to stir in the flours, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
• Press the dough into the baking pan as evenly as possible. Poke holes into the dough with a fork.
• Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Set aside.
• Next, make the pumpkin layer: In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and set aside to bloom.
• Meanwhile, in a clean bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream to soft – not stiff – peaks.
• In a separate bowl, whisk the pumpkin purée, salted caramel, bourbon (if using), remaining sugar, remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract and pumpkin spice together.
• Heat the softened gelatin in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds, or until dissolved. Stir the gelatin into the pumpkin mixture.
• Gently fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture until combined.
• Spread the pumpkin layer onto the shortbread base and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
• Once chilled, use the parchment overhang to lift the mixture out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Use a clean knife to cut into 9 to 12 squares, depending on size.
• Finally, make the chocolate layer: Melt the chocolate and remaining teaspoon of cold butter together until combined. Let cool slightly. Smear atop each bar in an even layer.
• Serve with whipped cream or chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

— photo courtesy of Carmen Troesser

By Amrita Rawat

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