Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with a Gingersnap Crust
SERVES 12, 12 -15 squares [I think I cut closer to 20 squares]
2 cups finely crushed gingersnaps
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup canned pumpkin [I used 1 c.]
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
CREAM CHEESE BATTER
3 (8 ounce) packages light cream cheese, softened [I used 1.5 packages]
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 325°.
Line bottom and sides of a 9"x13" baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside. CRUST: Blend cookies, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor until finely ground; add pecans and butter and combine. Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and press gently into bottom. Bake until fragrant and slightly firm, 12 to 15 minutes. PUMPKIN BATTER: In a medium bowl stir together pumpkin, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves until combined; set aside.
CREAM CHEESE BATTER: In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla, beating until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed after each addition just until combined.
Stir 1/3 of the cream cheese batter (about 1 1/2 cups) into the pumpkin batter until smooth. Pour remaining cream cheese batter over crust. [I followed the 1.5 c. suggestion and ended up with way more pumpkin batter than cream cheese mixture; probably because I upped the pumpkin and decreased the cream cheese. Unfortunately I didn't realize this right away.] Place large spoonfuls of pumpkin batter randomly over cream cheese batter. Using the tip of a table knife or a thin metal spatula, gently swirl the two batters together. This should have a marbled look. [By the time I realized my pumpkin batter situation, I already dumped the cream cheese mixture on top of the ginger snap crust and topped that with the pumpkin batter. However, I still wanted a marbled bar. My only choice was to scrape the cream cheese batter remnants from it's bowl. Thus my marbling is minimal. Next time I would put the pumpkin layer as the base and add spoonfuls of the cream cheese batter for more substantial marbling.] Bake for 25 to 30 or until center is just set.
Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours before lifting out of pan and cutting into squares or bars. Store any remaining bars in the refrigerator. [I slightly over-cooked the bars, which lead to a crack. On the bright side, once cut... no one knew but me... and now you.]
With this post, I'm also joining in on Flavor-of-the-Month, hosted by Bridget of Bake at 350.