Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake Crunch Bars


An excerpt from an enlightening conversation between Mom and Boots as Mom explained the first Thanksgiving to Boots, Bellie, and Cookie:

"So are the pilgrims still there?" asked Boots.

"No, that was over 400 years ago. They're long gone." said Mom.

"They're dead?!?!?!?"

"Did you know Dad and I went to Plymouth Rock?"

"You were pilgrims???"

"No, you can just go see it now."

"On a big ship?"

"No, we drove in a car..."

 Needless to say, Thanksgiving is one of the absolute top holidays around here, seeing as how it completely centered around food. This year we're probably going to make this turkey, these sweet potatoes, stuffing using this gluten-free bread, pumpkin shaped rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry relish, and maybe some beans like these or something, not to mention a million pies like this caramel apple one.

But if you're sick of pies for some unknown reason, or if you are really bad at rolling out pie crusts, or if you just want everyone to grovel at your feet this Thanksgiving, you can always make these pumpkin bars.

First make the crust, but save some to crumble on top. It will get all crispy and crunchy on top and bring great joy to your soul.


Make a layer of cheesecake and a layer of pumpkin pie. I drizzle the pumpkin over the cheesecake and then gently smooth it together like so...

Then you just add the rest of that crumbly stuff. It's okay if it doesn't cover the whole thing, it grows a bit in the oven.

My Grandma always makes something like this which is infamously known as "the pumpkin dessert". She uses a cake mix, doesn't have a cheesecake layer, and uses cool whip instead of whipped cream. If you want to make it Grandma style, you can just add a stick of butter to a yellow cake mix for the crust/crumb top and leave out the cheesecake part. It's awesome either way. Have fun.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Crunch Bars

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 1/2 sticks soft butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cheesecake Layer:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Pumpkin Layer:
15 oz. canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Whipped cream for top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix together all the crust ingredients with a fork until well combined. Press about half into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan, reserving 1 cup for the topping. 
Mix together the cheesecake layer ingredients until smooth and spread over the crust.
Finally mix together the pumpkin layer ingredients and mix until smooth, making sure there are no clumps of spices Drizzle the the pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese layer and gently smooth it out over the cheesecake layer.
 Crumble the remaining crust over the pumpkin layer. It will sink into the pumpkin a little.
Bake at 350º for about 40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream if desired (I don't like to put whipped cream over the whole top because it will make the crunch on top soggy.)

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