Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar

I can never believe how quickly time passes when school is in session. It’s the contradicting duality: each day feels very long in itself but the weeks feel like they are jumping from one week to another, like when you sleep so deep that when you wake up, you don’t even remember ever falling asleep. Little did we know and here we are, midway through October. Fall is clearly here (I guess it has been for a while!), which I am very excited about, especially since it means I can use pumpkin unapologetically!

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Pumpkin cheesecake is probably the best kind of cheesecake I’ve ever encountered. I guess life is kind of divided into two: before-pumpkin-cheesecake and after-pumpkin-cheesecake. Pumpkin cheesecake is (please don’t hate me if you disagree) superior to the other cheesecakes; the subtle sweetness, the added earthy flavor from pumpkin. I also turned this recipe into a cheesecake bar instead of the actual cheesecake. Not that I actually know the difference for sure, but my guess is that a cheesecake bar has a more shallow filling, which gives more room for error. The cheesecake is very cheesy with the pumpkin flavors shining through the cheesecake. Furthermore, this pumpkin cheesecake bar is not tooth-achingly sweet, which means seconds and thirds and fourths! I opted out of the classic graham crackers crust because I don’t like how sweet the graham crackers makes the crust. The crust recipe that I use is from Joy the Baker, who added oats that give a little chewiness. The filling recipe is slightly adapted from Hot Chocolate Hits, who gives a very simple but delicious pumpkin cheesecake. I also changed around the ratio to fit my pan.

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Go to your kitchen and start the pumpkin bonanza already!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar

Crust
adapted very slightly from Joy the Baker
a scant 1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes

Prepare the crust:
Preheat the oven 350. Mix all the ingredients, except for butter. Give a thorough stir to make sure all the ingredients are well-mixed. Cut in the cold butter cubes into the ingredient mix, make sure that the butter stays cold. Use a potato masher or a fork to avoid the butter melting. The mixture should be crumbly now.

Dump the mixture onto a greased 9 by 9 inch pan. Pat down the crumbly mixture evenly so the crust would bake evenly. Bake for about 10 minutes (the crust would not be fully baked yet so don’t worry about that!)

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Cheesecake filling

adapted from Hot Chocolate Hits

12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
⅓ + ⅙ cup coconut sugar (you can use granulated sugar, coconut sugar is what I had!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ginger
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
2 medium egg
1 cup pumpkin purée

Prepare the filling:
Mix the cream cheese and sugar until soft and airy.
Stir in all the spices and give a quick stir to incorporate the spices.
Fold in the eggs and pumpkin puree until just combined.
Pour the filling mixture onto the crust in the pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, make sure that the middle on slightly jiggle.
Wait for it to cool completely before serving!

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