Pumpkin Cheesecake BarsOctober 23, 2017 By Cathy — 8 Comments
What do you get when you cross pumpkin with cheesecake and gingersnaps? The best day ever.
I love a party. This is no secret to anyone in my life. Big, small, swanky, down and dirty; I’ll be among the first to arrive and the last to leave. It’s a cross between a blessing and a curse depending on who’s stuck with me for the night. The miracle of Uber has saved me from ruining many a friendship when those I arrived with are gathering their coats to call it a night long before I’m ready to hang up my party shoes.
One would think I’d have outgrown it by now, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be slowing down anytime soon (if this past Saturday night was any indication). Thing is, I think it’s a little bit nature and a little bit nurture. I hail from night owls (I think my mom logs about 4 hours of sleep nightly) and when given the opportunity I’d happily belt out tunes til 5 am and sleep the morning (who am I kidding, the afternoon) away. It’s just that the opportunity rarely presents itself. Curse those children!
I remember hearing my parents roll in after a night out spent dancing followed by a greasy diner breakfast when we were kids. It wasn’t an all the time sort of thing for them, but those memories stuck. It would be this magical blend of laughter and sticky cigarette smoke that followed them into the house. My parents weren’t smokers, but this was back in the day when every restaurant or bar was saturated with smoke and good, bad or indifferent, we as kids associated that smell with a good time. I’ll be the first one to thank Michael Bloomberg that my kids don’t have that same memory association after we stumble in after a long night getting after it in the East Village.
So in the spirit of parties, I’ve got two for you this week, food blogger style. The first is today’s virtual pumpkin party and my contribution are these pumpkin cheesecake bars. They have a spiced gingersnap crust and are rich, creamy and decadent. They are the perfect make-ahead treat as they’ll keep in the refrigerator for several days. So, if you’re already planning that Thanksgiving menu and you’re a pumpkin fan like this girl 🙋, then look no further. Make em, chill em, slice em and store em. They’re a great, low-stress option for the holidays.
And since we’re in full pumpkin mode right now, do I have a treat (no tricks, promise) for you. There are at least a zillion (okay, close to one hundred) pumpkin posts from fellow pumpkin obsessed bloggers right here. Sara from Cake Over Steak has organized this killer virtual party three years running and there are no signs of slowing down. So whether you like your pumpkin savory, sweet, for breakfast or swirled into a cocktail, there’s a little something for everyone here.
And come back and see me on Wednesday for a virtual apple extravaganza! Just when you thought your week couldn’t get any better….
- 1 - 1 lb box of gingersnaps
- 6 oz 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 1 - 15 oz can pumpkin
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch of cloves
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 packages 8 oz each cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- *whipped cream for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9 inch pan well. Line the pan with parchment so two sides have the parchment over-hanging the edge (this will help with removing the bars).
Place the gingersnaps in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until you have fine crumbs. (Alternatively, place in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin.) Add the melted butter and process until well mixed.
Press the crumbs into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Be sure to tamp down the crust well. Bake for 20 mins and remove to a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325.
Mix the spices and salt into the pumpkin in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese with a paddle attachment of a standing mixer or with a handheld mixer until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and beat for another 1-2 mins.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla.
Add the pumpkin mixture and beat until just blended, another minute or so more.
Pour on top of the cooled crust and smooth the top. Tap the pan once or twice down on the counter and place in a large roasting pan or sheet tray with a lip. Place the roasting pan in the oven and pour boiling water around the pan, about halfway up the sides if your pan is deep enough.
Bake until the cheesecake is set, but the middle is still slightly jiggly, about 50 mins. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then cover and chill in the refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours or even better, overnight.
Cut into bars with a sharp knife run under hot water (you'll need to keep wiping the blade and running under hot water as you cut for nice, neat edges). Top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon if desired.