Every year I cruise smoothly into November thinking I have so much time before Thanksgiving, indulging myself in fun carefree days filled with crisp weather and new knitwear, and then blamo, Turkey Day is in t-minus two weeks and I am online impulse purchasing every cookbook released in the last ten months in a fit of anxiety. Thanksgiving is inarguably my favorite and my most stressful holiday, as would be natural for any holiday that is largely based on food (and gratitude and togetherness, but lots of food).
So, in case you too are on the hunt for the recipes that will put an end to all minor family feuds and bring everyone together for a few blissful hours, I thought it only fitting to share a last-minute yummy dessert recipe for your Thanksgiving meal.
Nothing is more cliché or screams Thanksgiving than Pumpkin Pie. For as far as I can remember, Pumpkin Cheesecake was my annual request from my mother, and as this is my own baby’s first Turkey Day I thought I’d start grooming him early to follow in my footsteps. So this year, I thought I’d make my all-time favorite recipe shareable for an easy, no hassle, party ready treat. Let’s experiment with these titillating Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars, shall we?
”But last week weren’t you harping on the evils of sugar?”, you say. True, I often give sugar a bad wrap, and even though I do need my fix every so often, we gave this recipe from the Kitchn a little sprucing in an attempt to reduce the refined sugar. Try it yourself and tell us if you taste the difference!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars, à la Roki
For the crust:
14 whole graham crackers (broken up) or 1¾ cups of graham cracker crumbs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons of raw cane sugar
For the cheesecake layers:
4 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups of coconut sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup of pumpkin purée
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground ginger
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
Let’s make that crust:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and cover with butter or cooking spray.
If your graham crackers are not finely cut into crumbs, you may place them in a food processor to chop them evenly. Add the butter to the crumbs and mix. Spread the mixture into the baking pan, making sure it is an even layer.
Bake the crust until it begins to brown, around 12 to 15 minutes. Place on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
Now it is time for the filling:
Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on a medium speed until it is very smooth. Gradually add the sugar and salt and continue to mix for about a minute. Always on medium speed, beat in the eggs 1 at a time, waiting until each egg is fully incorporated. Dollop 3 ½ cups of the mixture onto the crust and spread evenly.
Add the pumpkin purée, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves to the remaining cream cheese filling and beat on a low speed. Carefully dollop the pumpkin filling over the cheesecake layer.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until the edges are set but the center jiggles. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely for about 2 to 3 hours. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Remove the foil or parchment paper from the pan and cut into 24 pieces.
Your Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are ready to be served.