Mama G’s Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

As a mom of eight (and counting with all these weddings) I’m always “cooking for an army” of family or friends! I am excited to share some of the recipes that we’ve enjoyed at family mealtime and the stories that go behind them. I love preparing delicious meals or desserts for my family.  The art of cooking and baking sometimes can get lost in our busy days and society, but I’ve always valued family mealtime for good food and good conversation.

One of my favorite quotes by Cheryl Mendelson that helps motivate me in the kitchen says, “Food is so pleasureful and powerful that it plays an essential role in creating a home that works. For your home to feel solid, meaningful, dignified and warm, you must have the means and skills to produce good, nutritious food, to dream up pleasant menus, and to set the table and serve the food in an attractive manner that is familiar and comfortable to guests.”

I always anticipate the fall, not only for cooler sweater weather and the beautiful leaves changing color, but mostly for pumpkin season! We even have a local bakery that has a countdown until their pumpkin bread is sold! For over 20 plus years, these simple but delicious Pumpkin Bars have been a staple in our home. Once I make them it’s officially pumpkin season and fall!

Our family is obsessed with these decadent pumpkin bars that melt in your mouth! They are the perfect balance of pumpkin, spice and chocolate. It seems we make these for every holiday from October through December, not to mention every time we get the craving. They are simple to make and always serve a crowd. Pumpkin Bars are the perfect everyday or holiday party dessert!

Mama G's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting Pumpkin Bars:

A Gardiner family Autumn tradition!


Pumpkin Bars

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 16 oz can of pumpkin
  • 2 cups Bisquick *who would have thought?
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 -12 oz package Ghirardelli mini chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese *Don't rip yourself off by buying a cheaper generic brand cream cheese! They clump!!
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk *or a little more if needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, pumpkin, Bisquick, oil, eggs and cinnamon in mixing bowl. Mix until combined and add chocolate chips. Pour into greased Jelly Roll or Half-Sheet Pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (Don't over bake- you want the cake to "spring back" when you touch it!)
  2. In the meantime, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Cream the cream cheese and butter using a mixer or hand beaters until smooth. Add two cups of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Add remaining powdered sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl as you mix. (Try and refrain from eating the bowl of frosting while the pumpkin bars are baking!!!)
  3. Remove from oven and let cool (unless you are like Mandi and like them warm and the frosting "gooey"). Cut into bars and serve immediately. If you have any leftover bars, store them in the refrigerator. Ours only last about a day!

Happy Fall Y’all!


Mama G

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