Pumpkin Cranberry Bars

Having a sibling has its ups and downs. On the one hand you have a built in friend from day one. On the other hand you have someone you are forced to share your stuff with. Toys, your parents’ attention and perhaps worst of all…your Halloween candy. I can recall quite a few Halloweens when my older brother Sean somehow convinced me he needed to have some of my hard earned Halloween sweets. But seeing as Sean always looked out for me growing up, I guess it was worth the few lost Milky Ways come October. Sean is great big brother and as I may have mentioned before  he has a lot of random interests. And one of those random interests happens to be Halloween. From age 7 to age 27, his Halloween costumes have always been pretty impressive. He has spent Halloween as a Leprachaun, Harry from Home Alone, Zack Morris and in college his masquerade as Tobias from Arrested Development even landed him a spot on CollegeHumor.com’s homepage. Yet my favorite of his costumes is still one of his earliest.

His fireman costume was complete with a helmet topped with a working siren. It flashed red with the touch of a button and it matched his first set of wheels…the Power Wheels Firetruck. Needless to say…it was pretty awesome. So awesome, in fact, that he wore it two years in a row.

I clearly went with some type of pink costume each year. But enough talk about Halloween costumes. Let’s discuss the other highlight of Halloween: Halloween desserts. Although I plan on “borrowing” some Halloween candy from the bowl meant for trick or treaters, I thought I would make another Halloween dessert. These pumpkin cranberry bars are subtly sweet and full of spice. And with a cake like texture, they can be made even better with a layer of cinnamon buttercream. But served plain or lightly frosted, they are sure to be delicious. Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

Ingredients: Makes 9 bars

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


  1. In a large bowl, beat softened butter, pumpkin and sugars until smooth and creamy
  2. Beat in eggs, one at a time
  3. Beat in vanilla
  4. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon)
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients into wet until just combined
  6. Stir in white chocolate chips and cranberries
  7. Pour batter into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish
  8. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes


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