Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pumpkin and Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

It's been a very beautiful fall in Boston so far (...minus the snowstorm on Halloween weekend, but let's forget about that). Luckily I live in an area with parks and plenty of trees, which means I still get to enjoy the changing of leaves. There are so many leaves left! I'm sure by the time I come back from Thanksgiving break they'll be gone, so I need to enjoy them while they last.

Some of my wonderful friends had a "Fall Festival" party this weekend, so I decided this was a perfect excuse to try a new pumpkin dessert. They had pumpkin pancakes, bagels with pumpkin cream cheese, and apple pie shots (all delicious, by the way). It was a great addition to an awesome weekend following a very stressful week. I find it humorous that people are so grateful when I show up somewhere with food. I don't think my friends realize that if I didn't have them to help me eat the things I bake, I wouldn't end up baking at all. So thanks, guys!


Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars 
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Recipes*)
Makes: 16 bars  Prep: 30 minutes  Total: 3 hours, 30 minutes

1 9-ounce package chocolate teddy grahams (or graham cracker equivalent)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar (divided)
1/4 cup butter
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 cup organic pumpkin
3 eggs
3 tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Begin making the graham cracker crust by crushing teddy grahams (or graham crackers) in a bag with a rolling pin into very fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl and mix with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup softened butter. Press into the bottom of a greased baking dish and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine softened cream cheese, 1 cup brown sugar, and organic pumpkin. Mix until softened. Add eggs and flour and stir until the eggs are fully incorporated. Season with salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.
Place semisweet chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl and heat in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until melted.
Pour half the cheesecake mixture over the graham cracker crust and spread evenly. Combine the melted chocolate with the remaining cheesecake mix and stir once or twice. Pour in small dollops into the prepared pan and using a butter knife, very carefully swirl the chocolate and cheesecake in a figure eight pattern to create a nice design.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Remove and let cool. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours prior to serving.

*I found the original recipe on Martha Stewart, but made some changes to the cheesecake mix and used my own graham cracker crust. View the link above for the original recipe.


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