Pumpkin Crunch

I am a huge fan of pumpkin pie and any type of pumpkin anything. As such, I was craving some pumpkin dessert in the middle of the summer. Nowhere near Thanksgiving, when we would traditionally serve up some tasty pumpkin pie, I decided I needed to track down a recipe for pumpkin bars to quench my craving. While looking through my mom's cookbooks for ideas, I stumbled across this little nugget in a book of compiled recipes from Ladysmith, Wis., residents. After throwing it together, which, as an added bonus, was really easy, I popped it in the oven. The smell of pumpkin wafted through the kitchen and it felt just like the holidays. And, as it turns out, I love the pumpkin crunch even more than any other pumpkin dessert. Who knew?

1 - 15 ounce can packed pumpkin
1 - 12 ounce can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 - 18.25 ounce package yellow or spice cake mix
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease the bottom of a 9-by-13 pan. Combine the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin layer. Top with pecans. Drizzle melted butter over the pecans. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before cutting. Top with whipped cream, if desired.


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