Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresThe Autumnal Equinox may not technically be until tomorrow night, but it is now officially Fall in my kitchen and on this blog. Time for apples and warming spices and dark caramel and, of course, pumpkin!Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresI’m starting off my Fall baking with these Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares. They’re made with the seasonal staple, pumpkin purée, along with my favorite pumpkin pie spice blend and a good hit of granulated espresso.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresThose ingredients, together with the usual suspects like all-purpose flour, butter, a touch of baking powder and a hint of vanilla, bake up into a thick, soft bar base.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresThis portion of the process takes all of 35 minutes and smells so. freaking. good. that you might have a hard time letting them cool completely before tearing into them.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresBut you should, because the next step is topping them with a thick layer of fluffy vanilla buttercream.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresI think vanilla buttercream can enhance almost any dessert flavor combination, but it’s especially good here as a foil to the pumpkin spice and coffee flavors. I like to top these squares with sparkling sugar, too, for a little something extra.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresThese bars slice like a dream—I love those clean edges! Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares are very visually appealing, making them perfect for any myriad of Fall occasions. Let’s start by celebrating that it’s Fall at all ❤ Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares
makes one 9-inch pan, about 16 bars

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso granules (I use Medaglia d’Oro)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup pure pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
sparkling sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhand at the edges, and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cookie layer. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, espresso granules, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in granulated sugar and light brown sugar, followed by egg, pumpkin purée, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating just until combined. Dough will be thick.

Spread dough into prepared pan with a silicone spatula. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until no longer wet-looking. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Let cookie layer cool completely in the pan on a rack. Do not remove bars from pan.

Make vanilla buttercream. In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla and heavy cream.

Use an offset icing knife to frost bars. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if desired. Freeze pan for 10 minutes to make bars easier to slice cleanly.

Use overhang to carefully lift bars onto a cutting board. Gently peel back edges of the parchment. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice into 16 bars, wiping the knife clean between cuts.

Serve squares. Store leftovers in an airtight container with wax paper between layers. They will keep at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie SquaresPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares

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