Pumpkin Chai Blondies with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Oh, help me.  These are unreal.  I’m not trying to toot my own horn, readers, but these pumpkin blondies are probably one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made.  They’re dense and chewy and pumpkinny-spicy-good.  Not just good, but goo-ood.  The kind of good that immediately transports you to a crisp fall day, when you’re wearing your favorite jeans and sweatshirt, and sitting all wrapped up in a blanket with your honey.

pumpkin chai blondies

I know I’ve built these blondies up quite a bit, but trust me, they really are that good.  Really.

chair pumpkin bars

Warm, comforting chai spices, sweet, spicy crystallized ginger, and tangy cream cheese frosting give traditional pumpkin bars the most incredible upgrade in these pumpkin chai blondies with spiced cream cheese frosting.

Pumpkin Chai Blondies with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

inspired by the Deen Brothers, “Good Cooking–Tailgating”

printer-friendly recipe


For the blondies:

1 c. unsalted butter, softened

1 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. dark brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/4 c. pumpkin puree

1 TBSP pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. toasted chopped pecans

1/4 c. crystallized ginger, finely chopped

For the frosting:

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Line a 13×9-inch baking pan (preferably with square corners) with foil or parchment so you have an overhang on all four sides.  Spray with baking spray.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about three minutes.

3.  Decrease speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add pumpkin and vanilla, beating until combined.

4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

5.  Add dry mixture to butter mixture, mixing only until combined.  (Batter will be quite thick.)  Stir in pecans.

6.  Spoon batter into prepared baking pan and smooth with a spatula.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.  (The bars should be fulled cooked on the bottom and have a slightly undercooked texture near the top.)  Place on top of a wire rack and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then lift out of pan and allow to cool completely.

7.  To make the frosting, combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat on high speed until fluffy, about two minutes. 

8.  Frost blondies when they are completely cooled and top with crystallized ginger.  Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

yield: 20-30 blondies, depending on portion size

one year ago: thick, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies

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  1. Barefoot Belle
    October 13, 2010 / 11:33 am

    These look amazing! They have me looking at my calendar for an opportunity to make them! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Melissa
    October 13, 2010 / 12:53 pm

    I love anything that has pumpkin and cream cheese frosting, but this recipe takes it to the next level!

  3. Sky
    October 13, 2010 / 2:44 pm

    This looks beyond delish. Cannot WAIT to make 'em.

  4. Amy of Sing For Your Supper
    October 13, 2010 / 3:23 pm

    Ok, that does it! I have to make these NOW!! These are probably the BEST looking (and sounding) pumpkin blondies I've ever seen!! YUM!!

  5. Cathy B. @ Brightbakes
    October 13, 2010 / 6:07 pm

    wow..I've been wanting to make some pumpkin bars lately, but it looks like I might have to try these instead! They look amazing!Love,Cathy B. @ brightbakes

  6. Krystal
    October 13, 2010 / 8:56 pm

    Oh.em.gee. You had me at Pumpkin. These look so sinful, I'm going to hold back to make these. I just baked a couple of batches of pumpkin bread. I'll finish that before I start on this. SWWWWWEEEEEET!

  7. Cate
    October 13, 2010 / 10:51 pm

    I am completely overwhelmed by pumpkin fever right now…these are absolutely going on my to-bake list!

  8. melslatt
    October 14, 2010 / 5:59 pm

    Just what I needed – one more pumpkin recipe to add to my list! Seriously though – with your testimonial its pretty much mandatory that I need to make these now.

  9. Anonymous
    October 15, 2010 / 1:06 pm

    These are amazing!! I was concerned that there was no sugar in the frosting and could not imagine frosting with no sweetness so I added 2 cups of powdered sugar. Everyone loves them. And the candied ginger is elegant!!!

  10. Kelsey
    October 15, 2010 / 3:11 pm

    Oh my goodness! There should be sugar in the frosting. Thank you for catching that. I will correct it immediately.

  11. Anonymous
    October 16, 2010 / 3:24 am

    Holy yumminess! I promised the gals at work a pumpkin treat in October, I think I've found what I'll be bringing. These look beyond amazing. Can't wait to try them!

  12. Patty
    October 17, 2010 / 8:33 pm

    Awesome! All those flavors make so much sense together. I think "pumpkin blondies" deserve their own name – maybe they should be called "gingers". 🙂

  13. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 / 3:41 am

    The brownies were delicious… but my creamed cheese frosting was far from the brilliant white as shown on the website picture. It was beige, so less visually appealing. Did anyone else have this problem? Perhaps the cinnamon and cardamom were not added to the frosting in the picture?

  14. Kelsey
    November 10, 2010 / 3:06 pm

    Anonymous, I'm glad you liked the flavors of the recipe. The spices were in the frosting in the picture. It should have a slightly ivory color with flecks of color from the cinnamon and cardamom.

  15. Anonymous
    October 2, 2011 / 11:17 pm

    I'm looking for pumpkin bars that are dense – more like brownies and less like cake. The photo looks like these are dense, but the 4 eggs makes me suspicious. How would you describe the texture of these? I may just leave out an egg… Thanks for the recipe – it looks great!

  16. Kelsey
    October 3, 2011 / 1:12 am

    I thought these were quite dense. I was worried about being able to pick them up, but they were plenty dense enough. If you're worried about it, you could try leaving out an egg and I think they'd still be okay.

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