This is one of my favorite desserts to make. It's relatively easy, and it tastes like a lot more effort went into it! Now, I could be biased, but I LOVE cheesecake, so being able to make myself some cheesecake? OSSUM!
This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens, and it pains me a bit to admit it's not a Frazzoo original. Oh well. I've never been much of a baker, and I can follow a recipe, so my desserts always come out, even if they're not fantastic. Go ahead and tell people this is "your" recipe...I won't tell if you won't.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
(Hardly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)
3 8-oz. bars cream cheese, softened
2 cups finely crushed gingersnaps (approx. 30-40 cookies)
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/3 c. canned pumpkin
1 T. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Lightly grease a 13x9x2 inch baking dish, set aside.
For crust, combine gingersnaps and melted butter in a small bowl. Press evenly into the bottom of prepared dish. Bake at 325 F. for about 10 minutes or until crust is firm. Set aside to cool.
While crust bakes, stir together canned pumpkin, flour, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl until combined. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating at a low speed until just combined.
Stir 1/3 of the cream cheese batter (approx. 1 1/2 c.) into the pumpkin mixture and stir until smooth and well-mixed.
Poor cream cheese batter over crust. Place large spoonfuls of pumpkin batter randomly over cream cheese batter. Using the tip of a table knife or spatula, gently swirl the two batters together.
Bake at 325 F. for 25-30 minutes or until center is just set. Cool completely in pan on a rack. Cover and chill for 4-24 hours before cutting into squares or bars. Makes 24 bars.
- I used my Magic Bullet to grind the crust for the cheesecake. Gingersnaps are stubborn little buggers. They're the kind of cookie you want in the foxhole with you; they sure as heck won't crack under pressure!
- Use fresh gingersnaps. The flavor will be strongest and you'll get a really tasty crust.
- Funny story: the first time I made this cheesecake, I was still living with my parents. They don't own a blender or food processor or any gadget that would have made the grinding process easier. I spent three hours at the kitchen counter with a meat tenderizer (read: hammer) smashing the hell out of gingersnap cookies. It took FOR.EV.ER. Moral of the story? Get yourself a food processor to do the dirty work for you. Save yourself 3 hours and months of taunting from your then-boyfriend now-husband.
- It's really important to let your cream cheese soften and come to room temperature. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but it makes all the difference in the cream cheese batter! (a.k.a. no lumps!)
- Mix well--make sure you get ALL the cream cheese from the bottom and sides of the bowl or you'll get lumps of cream cheese in your batter.
- I always have leftover pumpkin batter. ALWAYS. I just drop some dollops in the cheesecake batter and mix until I think it looks pretty. Since I'm usually making more than one cheesecake at a time, I use one batch of pumpkin batter for two cheesecakes.
- The thinner the crust, the better. My crusts always come out thicker than I want. I'm slowly getting better at making even and thin crusts, but I also don't mind the lovely punch of the gingersnaps and in this recipe I think it works a little better.