Several years ago around this holiday time, I made some pumpkin cheesecake bars. They were delicious, so I made them three times in a month. I told my sister about them. She commented on my Facebook wall asking me to send her the recipe for these delicious pumpkin cheesecake bars. Five wonderful FB stalkers chimed in, wanting the recipe as well. And so I posted the recipe to my Facebook, for all to enjoy.
Fast forward to a few days ago, when Facebook reminded me of this precious memory. “Oh happy day, now I know what I will make for this year’s Thanksgiving dessert!” my mind-voice exclaimed. I clicked on the several-year-old link, and it brought me to nothing. Absolutely nothing. I tried a little while later on a computer rather than my phone, and it redirected me to some fruity cheesecake bars. Very odd, indeed. So I searched the internets for “pumpkin cheesecake bars,” and the first few recipes I saw involved a yellow cake mix, and I just knew those were not my pumpkin cheesecake bars.
But I couldn’t just give up! Not now, when my mind was already tantalizing me with its amazing ability to reminisce in such a vivid and tasty way, reminding my tastebuds of that perfectly smooth and creamy, pumpkin-y cheesecake layer atop a crunchy, nutty, almost caramel-y, cookie-like crust. And so I did what I had to do. After going through a few different cheesecake bar and pumpkin bar recipes, combining ingredients and methods, I came up with the recipe below. And yippee skippy, it did not disappoint. These holiday pumpkin cheesecake bars tasted even better than my memories.
So if you’re thinking about making a boring pumpkin pie sometime during the rest of this holiday season, don’t. If you’re thinking about making a plain old cheesecake that you could have any time of the year sometime during the rest of this holiday season, don’t. And if you’re thinking about buying either one of those desserts because they’re too difficult to make sometime during the rest of this holiday season, don’t. Make these easy peasy pumpkin cheesecake bars instead, and they will exceed all of your expectations for the aforementioned desserts combined.
1/3 cup salted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg (or to taste)
whipped cream, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- To make crust, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the flour and chopped nuts and stir until mixture is crumbly.
- Press mixture into 8-inch square pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly, and scatter chocolate chips around warm crust.
- To make filling, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix well.
- Pour evenly over baked crust. Bake 30 minutes or until set.
- Let cool and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Top each serving with whipped cream.