Winning baker shares fall dishes

He’s the winner of the American Baking Competition on CBS and now, he’s baking up a storm in our Indy Style kitchen! Brian Emmett, Author, “Get Your Bake On,” makes us some Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting and Creamy Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheese!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil for pan

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

4 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups pumpkin puree

Cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or brush with vegetable oil. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, oil and pumpkin puree together until well blended. Add to flour mixture and stir until completely combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake about 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool. Frost cake and top with toasted nuts if using. Cut into bars and serve.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 2 cups frosting

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

¾ stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon heavy cream, plus more if needed

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ¾ cups confectioners sugar

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Lower speed and continue to mix in heavy cream, vanilla extract and confectioners sugar until smooth and well combined. Add more heavy cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed.

Creamy Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese


3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash)

1 1/4 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups milk

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tablespoons plain fat-free Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyère cheese

1 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

1 pound uncooked cavatappi

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 cup panko

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  1. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
  1. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.
  1. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

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