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      Mary Anne's Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dessert Bars

      Anything is better when cream cheese is added and this dessert is no exception. Served either warm or cold, your family and friends will rave over its delicious flavor and you will delight in how easy it is to prepare.

      Crust:

      1 box (18.5 ounces) yellow butter cake mix

      1 egg

      1 stick butter, melted

      1 cup toasted chopped pecans, optional

      Filling:

      2 packages (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

      1 cup sugar

      1 cup canned pumpkin, (not pumpkin pie mix)

      2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

      1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

      2 Tablespoons whipping cream

      2 eggs

      1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

      Toppings:

      1/3 cup chocolate ice cream topping, optional

      Heavy whipping cream, whipped with confectioner's sugar or granulated sugar and vanilla extract

      -Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 13x9 baking pan with vegetable spray. Mix
      together cake mix, egg, and melted butter. Pat into cake pan. Bake in middle of oven for
      10 minutes. Remove and cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with toasted pecans.

      -In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until
      smooth. Add remaining filling ingredients, beat until well blended. Pour over crust.
      Sprinkle with 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is
      set. Toothpick will come out clean when pumpkin cream cheese bars are done. Cool 30
      minutes. If desired, refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.

      -Before serving drizzle chocolate topping, if using, and spoon dollops of whipped cream
      onto bars. Store covered in the refrigerator.

      Note: This dessert can be served either warm or cold; it' s your choice. It will be a little
      gooey if served warm, however.

      Note: You can spoon chocolate topping into small zip-lock bag and snip off a small
      corner to ease in drizzling topping over the dessert bars.

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