Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Crunch Bars

Labor Day is over, August has come to a close. The inevitable has happened, summer has ended and fall is falling. It happens every year and yet, every year, it comes so swiftly that it catches us all off guard. Of course August must end and summer must be replaced by fall and kids must go back to school. We all know the routine and the order of the seasons yet it never fails that it catches us all unawares.
This year has been no different. I can't believe that it is already September third. What happened to August? And July? They are just memories now, replaced by the sounds of school bells and the rumbling of big yellow buses full of children weighed down by cumbersome backpacks.
With the changing of seasons and the changing of daily routines comes another change too, a dietary change. Gone are the days of corn and blueberries, peaches and zucchini. The plates of seasonal eaters are replaced with pumpkin, potatoes, apples and all things cinnamon. Mom's break out their crockpots and soups are reintroduced to the dinner table. Ice cream treats take a back seat to pies, crisps and warm puddings. Everything in the kitchen turns from a refreshing escape to a warm, comforting embrace.
This morning when I awoke I couldn't help but sense this cosmic shift in seasons. It seemed to happen overnight. I went from craving strawberries to thinking of nothing but pumpkins covered in nutmeg and cinnamon. As I watched kids file down the road to catch the school bus the feeling of fall only intensified and my desire to break out a big can of pumpkin became inescapable.
And so it is to the pantry I went, can opener in hand, to break out my first can of pumpkin of the season. Even the act of twisting the openers lever and removing the tin top of the can felt like fall! As I peered at the rich orange inside the can I was overwhelmed with thoughts of school days, freshly sharpened pencils, school bells, tardy slips and corrected homework assignments. Those days are long gone but the connection they have to this season will never fade. Fall is a sign of school days and no amount of time away from a classroom can change that fact.
To reign in the season of pumpkin I decided to bake pumpkin pie bars. This recipe comes from a new cookbook my Mom bought me on vacation. "The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook" is written by two bakers from Savannah, GA. They run one of the most beloved and respected bakeries in the south. If the pictures are any indication of the pastry perfection that comes from their kitchen then I don't doubt the goodness of their recipes! The pictures look divine! Each page is filled with tantalizing treats all prepared from scratch - no prepared pie crusts here.
So lets get to baking and inviting in a new season in nature and, who knows, maybe a new season in life! There is no telling what a change of leaves will bring. It may be just as good as these pumpkin pie crunch bars!

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