Do you remember that show "DoorKnock Dinners" with Gordan Elliot? Almost 11- 12 years ago on food network? Back when food network was just starting out? I do. And I remember the episode when Gordan went knocking on Paula Deen's door. This was waaaay before she was famous. Oh she had such a warm, inviting personality when she answered the door. Surely that was what Gordan was drawn too, her bubbly personality; for he knew she would be great on the show. Smart man. And from there Paula started her journey into food. Granted from interviews with Paula now she states she always wanted to do something with food--just wasn't sure what exactly. She was doing a lot of catering well before she opened her restaurant. Amazing to also find that back in her late 20's she suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia that literally kept her housebound. After reading that I just find it so hard to believe with her very bubbly personality and tremendous self esteem that shines through on her shows, book events, guest appearances, etc... Apparently it took her a few years to get well, when she then ventured out to have a job as a bank teller, then onto a small catering business, a large catering business, then meeting Gordan Ramsey, and the rest is history. Fascinating how she turned her life around at such a late age and finally realized/accomplished her dream of being int he food business.
Onto the bars. These moist pumpkin bars are from Paula Deen with a kicked up frosting from me. I finally have some of the 'pumpkin baking bug'. Took a while but it's here. While I have you--any kicked up pumpkin requests? Love to hear them!
(sorry the photos are so dark, we've had a ton of rain here on cape cod).
Since I get emailed (a lot) about where do I get the sprinkles from. I all mine from Whole Foods. They have such great colors and varieties of sprinkles and they're all natural too; no chemicals or dangerous food dyes in them.
pumpkin bars with apple cider-cream cheese frosting
bars by paula deen, frosting by vanillasugarblog.com
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup +/- confectioners sugar, sifted
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp (nice & soft)
1 ts ground cinnamon
A dash or three of pure apple cider (apple juice really won’t work here for that full flavor of apple, stick with the cider)
Orange sprinkles, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 X 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting:
In a medium bowl add in the soft cream cheese with the sifted confectioners sugar, cinnamon, and a couple dashes of the apple cider (in batches--don’t add in all the cider at once; it’s better to add in small doses than larger ones).
Get out the handheld mixer and beat until well mixed, no lumps are present. You can add as much or as little apple cider depending on how thick you like your glaze. I like to place mine frosting in the fridge for a while to harden up before frosting/piping onto the cake. For a decorative cake like mine, you can use a piping bag to frost or a knife. But make sure the cake is cooled before frosting.
Dust with orange sprinkles if desired.