To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add flour to pan; cook 5 minutes or until light brown, stirring often. Remove pan from heat. Transfer flour to a bowl; cool completely.
Combine cooled flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until combined. Add chilled butter; pulse until mixture resembles fine meal. Press 1 cup of flour mixture evenly into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; reserve the remaining flour mixture. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.
To prepare filling, spread pumpkin in an even layer on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 5 minutes.
Combine granulated sugar, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, and cream cheeses in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth. Scrape pumpkin into bowl using a rubber spatula. Add egg substitute, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, and egg; beat until smooth. Scrape batter into baked crust.
Combine reserved flour mixture and pecans in a small bowl; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons water. Squeeze handfuls of topping to form large pieces. Crumble over filling. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until filling is firmly set. Remove from heat; cool in pan on wire rack to room temperature. Cut into 12 portions. Serve at room temperature.
I have to agree with Guezzie - I am an avid baker and love pumpkin (and CL recipes)...but these were awful. Especially considering how much effort went into them. The crust didn't taste or crumble right, and the texture of the bars was just 'off.' They definitely tasted 'light,' and they were not worth the effort!
This is an incredibly high-maintenance recipe, and the payoff is not worth it. There must be some reason why you have to cook the flour, but I have no idea why. Then, you have to wait for it to cool down, which is not a speedy process, and drain the pumpkin. I don't exactly want to put the pumpkin I'll be eating against bleached paper towels or stain a nice cloth towel.
It took me a long time to make and made my kitchen a huge mess. I don't mind spending a long time on a recipe if it's amazing, but these were very ho-hum. I wasn't really a fan of the crunchy topping masking the cheesecake-ness of the bars. Plus, I goofed and both packages of cream cheese I used were only reduced fat instead of one being fat free, so they should've been even better! Don't waste your time.
By reading reviews, I figured the crust was a problem, so I made a simple graham cracker crust instead. I halved the recipe (only two people at home now) but kept all the spices and vanilla. I used fresh pumpkin and a bit more than the recipe calls for, so that probably intensified the flavor. For half the recipe, I used four oz. egg substitute and one whole egg. It fit an 8x8 pan and cooked in the same amount of time. I saved a bit of the graham cracker crust mixture and used it plus the pecans for a topping. I also chilled these six hours in the fridge before eating. They were very good!
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