Minnesota Harvest Bars

As far as I know, Velma and Herb never lived in Minnesota.

I remember them living out by the Finger Lakes, near Cornell University where Velma worked for many years.  Velma was my mother’s cousin.

I also remember that Velma was a terrific cook.  It was always a delight to see what dish she’d brought to the family reunions.

When we put family recipes into a booklet for everyone to enjoy, we were happy to see that Velma’s daughters had sent some favorites, including this one –Minnesota Harvest Bars – that’s perfect for cool fall evenings, busy fall lunches, or well, yes, breakfast with a hot cup of coffee.

Minnesota Harvest Bars GCG


**1/2 cup shortening

1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs

½ tsp vanillaMinnesota Harvest Bars GCG

½ cup chopped dates

½ cup chopped walnuts (or any nut)

2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

½ cup all-purpose flour

1/2tsp.baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

½ tsp. each: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

confectioner’s sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt shortening. **The only change I made to this recipe was to use coconut oil in place of the shorteningMinnesota Harvest Bars GCG

Add brown sugar, stir. Remove from heat.

Add pumpkin, eggs and vanilla; mix thoroughly.Minnesota Harvest Bars GCG

Combine dates with 2 Tbs. flour, set aside.

Minnesota Harvest Bars GCG

Flouring dates keeps them from sticking together when added to the rest of the batter.

In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, except the confectioner’s sugar.

Mix dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture.Minnesota Harvest Bars GCG

Stir in dates and nuts.

Pour into a well-greased 9x9x2-inch pan. Bake 30-35 minutes.Minnesota Harvest Bars GCG

Cut into diamond shaped bars and sift confectioners’ sugar on top when cool.

Eat and enjoy!Minnesota Harvest Bars GCG


When I first read over this recipe, I thought there couldn’t possibly be enough ingredients to fill a 9-inch square pan.  What? One-half cup flour?  It works; trust me.

It’s easy, it makes the house smell good and the family happy!  And, it reminds me of family as well.


You can use the “print” button on this page if you would like to have easy access to this recipe.


This post is linked to the From the Farm BlogHop and The HomeAcre Harvest Hop.


  1. I love the idea of a family recipe book. I’ll print out this recipe for Elma to bake. She’s our Velma. 🙂

  2. Looks yummy! Thank you for sharing this at the HomeAcre Hop; I hope you’ll join us again this Thursday.

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