Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Marshmallow Meringue

Pumpkin Bars with Salted Caramel and Toasted Marshmallow Meringue

Where to start on the deliciousness of Pumpkin Bars with Salted Caramel and Toasted Marshmallow Meringue?! This pumpkin base is pulled from the pages of The Cookie Book. I had forgotten how delicious it was/is…and it is beyond words. Soft, airy, beautiful crumb. Everything you’re looking for in a bar cookie that’s really a cake…if we’re being honest here.

Next up is a nice layer of salted caramel smeared over the top of the cooled cake. It’s not too thick, so the bars aren’t overwhelmingly sweet. But just the right amount of, well, caramel…in all its glory.

Not to be too casual about anything these days, we couldn’t stop there. We had to add a THICKKKKKK layer of marshmallow meringue to the top. The crowning glory is the toasted-ness of it all. Have we talked about how much fun a kitchen torch is? 

WHY YOU SHOULD DROP EVERYTHING & MAKE THESE PUMPKIN BARS

These bars are BEYOND delicious! Stella, Gavin and I could not stop eating them. Stella said, ‘we have to get these out of the house’ because we couldn’t stop taking bites every time we walked through the kitchen.

 

They have all of the delicious flavors of fall crammed into one, heavenly treat. Pumpkin, fall spices (think cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) and caramel. 

 

None of the components are that difficult to throw together and (BONUS) the bars and caramel can be made ahead of time and assembled before serving. AKA Best life living!! 

Let’s make some bomb Pumpkin Bars with Salted Caramel and Toasted Marshmallow Meringue, shall we?

Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Marshmallow Meringue

ABOUT THE PUMPKIN BARS

I wanted a super simple pumpkin bar base so I grabbed the one from The Cookie Book. It’s easy to throw together, you can use a stand mixer (or don’t!) and they comes out perfect every time. Start to finish, they’ll be done in under an hour. Here are some quick notes:

MIXER

Like I said, you can use a mixer or don’t. Either way, make sure that your butter and sugars are mixed together until light and fluffy. This will help your cake get a nice rise.

PUMPKIN

When grabbing canned pumpkin from the store, make sure you pick up pure pumpkin purée and not pumpkin pie filling. In terms of brands, Libby’s is HANDS DOWN my favorite…and I’ve tried a lot of them.

A note on making your own pumpkin purée… If that’s your jam, knock yourself out. One thing to keep an eye on is the thickness and amount of moisture in your homemade pumpkin purée. If it seems on the thin side, drain on several layers of paper towels to get rid of any excess moisture that might keep the bars from baking properly.

ROOM TEMPERATURE INGREDIENTS

When assembling treats that are light and fluffy like these bars, you need to make sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature. If you introduce cold eggs or water to the happily creamed butter + sugar you run the risk of curdling (or breaking) your batter. Which, to be honest, you can still forge ahead with your bars, but they won’t have as much lift and lightness as they would have if made with all room temperature ingredients. 


 

LET’S CHAT ABOUT THAT SALTED CARAMEL

This is my favorite, OG, caramel recipe. It’s been perfectly scaled down so that it will give a nice, thin layer over the pumpkin bars. There won’t be so much that it’s oozing out all over the place. Which is actually pretty nice because these bars are surprisingly (SHOCKINGLY) not too sweet.

A quick word about this caramel…whisk whisk whisk when you’re making it to fully emulsify the butter and the sugar. Don’t let the heat get too hot or you run the risk of traumatizing the caramel and it won’t be the flavor party that it is.

STORAGE

To store the caramel, place it in an airtight container and stash in the fridge. If you’ll be using it within several hours of assembling the bars just let it hang out on the countertop until ready to use.

 

TO USE

If you stashed the caramel in the fridge, it will set up. You can let it sit on the counter to bring it to room temp (this will take awhile) or you can give it a quick 10 second blast in the microwave. Whisk until smooth and silky again. It’s ready to smear over the pumpkin bars when it’s still slowly pourable, but not too runny.

Marshmallow Meringue

 

THAT TOASTED MARSHMALLOW MERINGUE THOUGH…

This heavenly concoction falls somewhere between actual meringue and a Swiss meringue buttercream. But it commits to neither and she truly has forged her own path in the world.

FIRST WE MELT

The egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and cream of tartar are whisked over a water bath until opaque, smooth and you no longer feel any grit when the mixture is rubbed between two fingers. This seems like an annoying step, but it’s super easy, doesn’t take long and the results will KNOCK. YOUR. SOCKS. OFF.

MIX IT!

Then you whisk on high speed until the mixture has tripled (at least!) in volume and is no longer warm to the touch. Then it’s ready! You’re going to carefully scoop it on top of the smeared caramel. You don’t want to press down or pack it in there. Be gentle. Be kind. Your marshmallow meringue thanks you.

SCULPT IT!

Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, you’ll want to make swirls and swoops and peaks and valleys in your meringue. The more peaks and valleys you have, the more contrast you’ll have in the color of the marshmallow once you use the torch on it. 

TORCH IT!

Ideally you’ll use a kitchen torch for this — you’ll get the prettiest results for toasting up your marshmallow meringue. If you don’t have one, you can put it under the broiler with a watchful eye to make sure nothing burns. I highly recommend the former…I promise you’ll use it all the time!!

 

SAME DAY

I don’t like to make marshmallow meringue ahead of time. I highly recommend you make it the same day you are serving for best results. 

Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Marshmallow Meringue
Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Marshmallow Meringue
Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Marshmallow Meringue

MORE PUMPKIN & CARAMEL & MARSHMALLOW STUFF

THE BEST PUMPKIN STREUSEL MUFFINS

SALTED HONEY PEAR CROSTATA

SALTED CARAMEL S’MORES TARTS

JESSIE’S BIRTHDAY CAKE WITH STRAWBERRY MARSHMALLOW FROSTING

GRANNY PETE’S CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH MARSHMALLOW FROSTING

Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Marshmallow Meringue
Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Marshmallow Meringue

Pumpkin Bars With Salted Caramel and Toasted Marshmallow Meringue

Fluffy, moist pumpkin bars smeared in salted caramel and topped with thick layer of marshmallow meringue. Both the cake + caramel can be made ahead of time. This is a super easy, delicious fall recipe — enjoy!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Servings: 15 Servings

Ingredients

For The Salted Caramel

  • 6 tablespoons (86 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (105 g) brown sugar (dark or light), packed
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the Pumpkin Bars

  • 12 tablespoons (172 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (237 ml) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup (210 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup (96 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) water
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (11 ml) real vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (238 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

For The Marshmallow Meringue

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup (144 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Instructions

For The Salted Caramel

  • To make the caramel, add the butter and brown sugar to a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Pour in the heavy cream, turn up the heat to medium high and continue whisking until it reaches a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the vanilla and sea salt and set aside to cool, whisking frequently. If it starts to separate, whisk it until it’s completely blended once again. Once cool, place it in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease an 8 x 11–inch (20.3 x 28–cm) baking dish and line with parchment, letting the excess fall over the sides.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the butter, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar, water, eggs and vanilla until well blended.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Pour the flour mixture into the butter mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with the back of the spoon.
  • Bake for 40 minutes on the center rack. Let cool completely in the pan.

For the Marshmallow Meringue

  • Add the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and salt to the clean bowl of an electric stand mixer and nestle it in a saucepan of simmering water over medium-high heat. Do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk until the mixture is opaque, frothy, the sugar is melted (rub some between two fingers, if it feels gritty, keep whisking) and warm to the touch. Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff and glossy and cool to the touch, about 3-5 minutes. Add the vanilla and run the machine for 30 seconds more.

To Assemble

  • Smear the caramel evenly over the top of the cake. Let the caramel set for 5 minutes. Scoop the meringue over the top and use a torch to char the meringue using a circular motion, focusing on the peaks.
  • Thank you so much for making Pumpkin Bars with Salted Caramel and Toasted Marshmallow Meringue — I hope you love them!

Video

Thanks for baking with me! Please tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo

6 Comments

  • Lori southerngirleats 2020/11/10 at 9:40 PM

    5 stars
    I am so loving these. All the flavors of the season.

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2020/11/11 at 6:51 PM

      Thank you so much Lori! I think you would love them!!! xoxo

      Reply
  • Jacinta 2020/11/06 at 10:30 PM

    Just making these, yeah, and noticed that you have 2 tablespoons of cinnamon written above. I checked the book though..

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2020/11/06 at 11:26 PM

      Hi Jacinta!! Thank you so much for the note — I edited it!! I hope you love them!! xoxo

      Reply
  • Sam 2020/10/31 at 8:30 PM

    I can’t wait to make these!

    Reply

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