The Sassy Pair

Yes, we’ve finally jumped on the over crowded Pumpkin Spice Everything train (somewhat reluctantly). My fall flavor preference is definitely apple cinnamon or chai over pumpkin spice, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it in moderation. And that’s where the idea for this recipe came from. These bars have a thick, chewy blondie layer that is simple and heavy on the cinnamon. But the cream cheese swirl adds texture and the ever-popular pumpkin spice. This recipe is perfect for anyone wanting to have some pumpkin in their October without it taking over.

Blondie Adaptation

The base layer of these bars is a super simple, classic blondie. Basically a chocolate chip cookie dough without any chocolate chips, and with less flour and no leavening. Leaving out the baking powder and soda lets the blondies stay moist and gooey instead of puffing up like a cookie. Same concept as baking brownies.

I also added a heap of cinnamon to the recipe because 1. I loooove cinnamon 2. it gives a fall flavor twist and 3. it pairs well with the pumpkin spice layer. You can opt to leave out the cinnamon, give it a different flavor, or throw in baking chips. I think some white chocolate chips would be an excellent pairing.


If you’re looking for other delicious fall recipes minus the pumpkin spice, check out our Chai Madeleines and Caramel Apple Spice Cake. Happy baking!


  • Blondie Layer
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 c dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c flour

  • Pumpkin Swirl
  • 4 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2/3 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger


  • Preheat oven to 350 °F and line 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper.
  • Cream butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl until smooth and fluffy.
  • Beat in egg until well combined and then add in vanilla.
  • Stir in flour, salt and cinnamon until just combined.
  • In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until well mixed. Beat in pumpkin puree.
  • Stir in flour and all spices. (add more or less to taste)
  • Spread half of the blondie batter into prepared pan, and top with half of pumpkin batter. Spread evenly in two layers.
  • Drop dollops of blondie batter on top, one inch apart. Drop dollops of pumpkin batter in between.
  • Take a butter knife and cut through the top layer of batter dollops to create a swirl pattern.
  • Bake in preheated oven until very lightly golden brown (you want to keep a slightly gooey center) or about 20 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack before cutting.


Bars will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Blondie base recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

View more articles written by Britta.

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