Do you know what’s coming up this weekend? If you are from central IL (more specifically the Morton – Peoria area), then you know exactly what is coming this weekend. It’s the Morton Pumpkin Festival!!! A celebration of the beginning of harvest and the history of a bustling factory right in the midwest. This factory is Libby’s. Libby’s started out as a canned meat business in Chicago in the late 1800’s. Around 1920, Libby’s branched out and started the pumpkin plant in Morton IL. Today, Libby’s grows pumpkins on over 5,000 acres of farmland in the central IL area and over 80% of the world’s canned pumpkin is supplied by Libby’s. My dad will randomly sing the little Libby’s jingle when he reminisces about driving by the plant on his way to work many years ago “”When it says Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s on the label, label, label, you will like it, like it, like it, on your table, table, table.” This weekend celebrates the 49th annual Morton Pumpkin Festival so here’s a familiar fall treat that you can make at home to celebrate the season and make great use of that pumpkin! If you are in the central IL area, then you really must go check out the festival! Morton is known as the Pumpkin Capital of the World, you know!
This recipe is the one my mom has always used. I’m sure there are tons of variations available on the internet that will produce very similar pumpkin bars. You could also make these into cupcakes which would be a great treat. We enjoy Pumpkin Bars as a dessert, but also as a nice sweet breakfast goodie. I like to serve up my extra large pumpkin bar and zap it in the microwave for a few seconds so it’s nice and warm, but that’s just me!
These bars are meant to be on the thinner side so I recommend using a larger pan like 12 x 18 inch size cake pan. I doubled the recipe to make two batches of pumpkin bars. One can of Libby’s Pumpkin is 15 oz, so technically I was short an oz of pumpkin for my doubled recipe, but they still turned out great.
1 C vegetable oil
2 C Sugar
1 C pumpkin puree – it better be Libby’s! 🙂
1/2 teas salt
2 teas cinnamon
1 teas baking soda
1 teas baking powder
2 C All Purpose Flour
3 oz cream cheese – room temperature
1/2 C butter – room temperature
1 lb or around 4 C powdered sugar
1 teas vanilla
2-3 TBS milk
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
Combine 4 Eggs, slightly beaten, vegetable oil, sugar and pumpkin in a mixing bowl. Mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the salt, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and flour.
Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. (I was making a double batch so my mixing bowl was really full).
Once all the ingredients are incorporated, pour out the batter into a well greased cake pan, or line the pan with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until center is set.
Remove from oven and let cool in the pan before frosting.
Combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Slowly add in the powdered sugar until well mixed. Thin out a little with the few TBS of milk.
Once your pumpkin bars are cooled, spread the frosting!
That beater is just calling your name to go ahead and clean it up!