Monday, November 14, 2011

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Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars & A Potluck

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
I had a potluck at my house last weekend and it was so much fun. I asked everyone who came to bring their favorite fall-inspired dish and everyone stepped up to the task. We had everything from broccoli casserole to pumpkin pie. It was a day full of delicious food and great company. I was so thankful for the friends who were able to make it and it was great seeing friends (and their kids!) again after so long.
One of my contributions to the potluck were these Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I wanted to make it and the potluck was a perfect time to make them. I almost followed the recipe exactly except my cookie crust was made out of graham crackers and I combined the filling ingredients in a bowl with a hand mixer instead of in the food processor. Also, I don't know if my baking pan was just too shallow, but I had about a third of the filling leftover that didn't fit into the pan. I baked the leftover filling so we had some extra pumpkin cheesecake. The bars themselves were really tasty and everyone seemed to enjoy them. I'm always amazed at how mellow pumpkin is once its baked. Alex said this dessert reminded him of the holidays in general and said it was a good dessert to bridge Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Source: Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
Yields 24 bars

For the cookie crust:
1 package Biscoff cookies (I made a graham cracker crust using about 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs)
2 tablespoons sugar
5-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the maple pumpkin filling:
1 8-ounce brick cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree (approximately 2 cups)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom and sides of a lightly buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil that extends at least 3-inches over each end of the pan. You will use this overlap to remove the baked bars from the pan. Lightly butter the foil.

To make the crust, pulse cookies and sugar together in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Add 5 tablespoons melted butter and pulse a few more times to incorporate. The crumbs should look like wet sand and hold together when pinched. If the crumb mixture is too dry, add an additional teaspoon of butter at a time until the right consistency is achieved.

Press crumbs evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Rinse and dry the bowl of the food processor.

While crust is baking, prepare the pumpkin filling. Combine all filling ingredients, except the whipped cream, together in the bowl of the food processor and process until smooth. Pour the filling over the pre-baked crust and tap the pan down on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Bake until the filling is set in the center, about 30 – 35 minutes. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool.

Run a knife around the inside edges of the pan to loosen the pumpkin bars. Using the foil, carefully lift the bars from the pan and onto a cutting surface. Peel back the foil and cut into squares with a warm, sharp knife. Serve chilled or at room temperature, with a dollop of whipped cream and a candy corn on top, if desired.

The bars can be stored, covered, in the fridge for about 4 days.


Lindsey said...

Those bars look divine! I was so hoping to come bearing cranberry orange relish... another time. So glad you all had fun.

Desi said...

Your pumpkin cheesecake bars look divine! I wanna come to your potluck :) If only I lived closer!