Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Good news everyone!  I had time to bake!  Unfortunately for me (and you guys), life just continuously gets in the way of me making stuff and it makes me so bummed out.  I went from baking on an almost weekly basis to having to go months in between new recipes, and it break my lil heart.  Luckily it’s “fall” in Florida right now, and I had some free time last weekend, so I said “yep, today’s the day we make some stuff”.  Full disclaimer, I had every intention of posting this recipe on Sunday when I actually made them but uh…Westworld was on.  And man, that show is GREAT.

This recipe is packed with as much fall as you can fit into a bar, I think.  Gingersnap crust, pumpkin, spices, and an optional (but very highly recommended) caramel swirl.  If you’re not a fan of the caramel part, you can very easily leave that step out without having to change any other steps.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

  • Servings: 24-36 bars, depending how you cut them
  • Time: about 1 hour 45 minutes, plus cooling
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

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FALL FOREVER.  I’m gonna wear plaid even though the lows are in the 70’s!

CRUST

  • 13 oz. (about 3 cups) of gingersnap cookies, crushed (my go to method is to put them all in a ziploc bag and smash ’em with a can or a rolling pin until you have the right crumb)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick)  unsalted butter, softened
  • pinch of salt (I used sea salt because it’s the best)

CHEESECAKE

  • 24 oz. (3 boxes) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 28 oz. canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice – NOTE: I made my own because the premixed stuff can be too fake.  It was about 3/4 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon (regular would work too), 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp allspice and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.  You can play with it as much as you’d like to make it taste how *you* want it to taste!
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

CARAMEL

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. If you’re going with a caramel swirl, start at step 2.  If not, start at step 4.  It’s like a choose your own adventure recipe!
  2. Bring the brown sugar, butter, and milk to a gentle boil in a saucepan, stirring occasionally.img_6355
  3. Let it boil for approximately 2-3 minutes until it starts to reduce, remove from heat, and let cool to continue thickeningimg_6356
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a 9×13 inch pan.
  5. Using a stand mixer or by hand with a whisk, combine the crushed gingersnap cookies with the sugar and salt until evenly mixed.img_6317
  6. Add the butter in quarters until it is evenly distributed through the crumb mixture, it should have the texture of damp sand

    img_6318
    Bingo bango.  The most delicious kind of sand.
  7. Pour the crumbs into your 9×13 pan and, using your fingers, press into an even layer.

    img_6321
    Please feel free to eat some while you do this.
  8. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until it’s set, then let it cool completelyimg_6352
  9. In a large bowl, beat the sugar in with the cream cheese until fully blended.
  10. Beat in the sour cream, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and spice(s), and then add the eggs one by one until just incorporated into the mixture.

    img_6325
    Me: “Hey, can you tell me how this tastes?” Husbot: “Just give me a spoon, I’m all set here”.
  11. If you didn’t make caramel, pour the pumpkin mixture over the cookie crust

    img_6354
    Oh sweet lord, YES.
  12. If you did make caramel, set aside 1/3 cup of the pumpkin mixture and stir the caramel into it.  Pour the rest of the pumpkin mixture over the cookie crust, and drizzle the caramel mixture on top of that.  Draw some swirls and whatnot into the top with a toothpick, go crazy!

    img_6357
    I uh…am not so good with the Pinteresty chevron look.
  13. Bake the cheesecake for roughly 55 minutes, until the filling is just barely jiggly in the center.
  14. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack, then move it to the refrigerator to cool completely overnight (or for 12 hours, if you’re making this early in the morning like a crazy person), then cut into bars.img_6358
  15. I would recommend sharing these as soon as you can because wow, it is incredibly easy to just inhale these bad boys.
  16. Most importantly, enjoy!

And as Tag Team said before us, whoomp there it is.  Use these bars for a different take on the classic cheesecake, or do it just because you’re feeling daring!

-Nicole

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