These swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars are a new fall favorite of mine. This was my first time making them but I have no doubt they will become an autumn must have for many years to come. Admittedly I am not a fan of the flavor of pure pumpkin. I’ve eaten pumpkin pie a few times, made by different people, but never really fell in love with the taste. I’m a sweet potato pie kinda girl. However, I did find a way to enjoy pumpkin by pairing it with a dessert I really enjoy, cheesecake!
Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
I like making them in a square pan and cutting them into bars because they are easy to grab and eat and don’t require a fork. You also, feel less guilty because you can cut them into smaller bite-size pieces rather than eating a large chunk of cake 😉.
The swirled pattern makes a lovely design on top. The honey, cinnamon graham cracker crust adds great flavor and a contrast in texture to the soft pumpkin cheesecake. These creamy pumpkin treats would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving dinner or just because. You never need an occasion for a yummy dessert!
Yield: 16-20 servings
2 cups Graham crackers crumbs, finely ground (I used honey 🍯 graham crackers )
8 tbsp (usually 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pound (2- 8oz packages) of plain cream cheese, softened
15 oz can of pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup sugar
8 oz sour cream
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
Start by making the crust. In a mixing bowl combine the ground graham crackers, melted butter, and cinnamon using a fork. Lightly spray or lightly butter the bottom of a non-stick 9 x 9 square baking pan and fit with a piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom and two sides of the pan. I like to use parchment for easy cleanup, easy cheesecake removal, and to be sure nothing sticks to the bottom! Press the graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the cake pan. Use the bottom of drinking glass to smooth and even it out. Place in the refrigerator to chill while preparing the filling.
Using a stand or handheld electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Next, add the eggs, 1 at a time while beating at a slower speed. Once combined and smooth, add the sugar and cinnamon and continue to beat for another 2 minutes. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl to be sure all ingredients are mixed in well. Next, add the sour cream and vanilla extract and beat just until combined. At this point remove approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture and set aside in a small bowl. We will use this later to create the swirled pattern on the bars. Finally, add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
Pull the crust from the fridge and pour the filling on top. Use an offset spatula or butterknife to even out the top. Use a fork to drizzle the plain cheesecake over the top of the pumpkin cheesecake filling in a random design of your choosing. Then lightly drag the fork back and forth along the cake side to side or top to bottom to create the swirl pattern.
Place the filled cake pan in a large roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Be careful not to let any of the water splash the cheesecake.
Bake for 45 minutes. The center should still look a bit jiggly- it’s ok! AND you should have a beautiful swirled pattern of plain cheesecake on your pumpkin cheesecake. Carefully remove from the water bath and let the cheesecake cool for 15 mins before placing it in the refrigerator.
Allow the pumpkin cheesecake to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours before cutting. I usually let it rest and cool in the fridge overnight. Once it has sufficiently cooled, the bars are ready to be cut and devoured!
Swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars for Thanksgiving…or any autumn day. 🍂 🤗