marbled pumpkin cheesecake bars
Sorry folks, I am not team pumpkin pie. But I am 100 percent pro pumpkin cheesecake. Especially when that cheesecake is sitting atop a browned butter blondie crust. Who needs graham crackers when you can have a chewy, delicious cookie-like crust? NO ONE. Besides, this dessert feeds a crowd and can be made up to 3 days in advance, making your t-day that much easier.
I don’t have a ton to say about these, other than they are freaking delicious, except to tell you that you must not overbake these! Cheesecake goes from glorious and creamy to cracked and overbaked very easily. If you’ve ever wondered why your cheesecake cracked, it has nothing to do with a water bath and everything to do with the temperature at which it was baked and the time it spent in the oven. This is why I tend to bake all my cheesecakes at around 275 degrees F for an extended period of time which, in my opinion, results in a creamier cheesecake and keeps the top from turning brown. Which, in this case, is beneficial so that the marbled design still comes through after baking. When your cheesecake is done, it should look puffed, but have no cracks, and should jiggle slightly like jello but be set. You will have perfect cheesecake every time, I swear!
Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- 1 1/2 sticks (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 stick (113g) browned butter, slightly cooled (process explained below)
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (250g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/3 cups (500g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 5 8 oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, warmed
- pinch of salt
- To make the crust: preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Start by making the browned butter. Melt 1 stick of butter in a small pan. Cook over medium heat until the butter foams and bit and gradually turns golden brown. STOP AT GOLDEN BROWN--browned butter goes from delicious and nutty to burned and acrid very quickly. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, Beat remaining butter with browned butter. Add both sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just combined. The mixture will be a bit crumbly. Grease a 9x13 baking pan and line with parchment paper so that the parchment hangs over the edges (for easy removal later) and press the mixture into the pan in an even layer, about 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 20 minutes, until just golden brown. Remove from oven and cool before adding filling.
- Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese and sugar until very smooth with no lumps. Add eggs, vanilla and a pinch of salt, beating well between each egg addition. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the cheesecake filling and set aside. In a small saucepan, warm up the cream until it’s barely simmering. Add the pumpkin puree, and spices to the filling still in the mixer and beat until smooth. Add the warmed cream and beat for 1 minute, until everything is incorporated. Pour pumpkin cheesecake filling over cooled bar base and jiggle slightly to get the top smooth. Take the reserved filling and pour over the top in lines. Using a knife or toothpick, run the knife through the filling to create a marbled pattern. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the filling jiggles slightly but is set. Cool to room temperature then refrigerated at least 4 hours. Use the parchment overhang to pull the cheesecake out of the pan (you may need to run a knife around the edges first) and cut into squares. Serve with whipped cream.
You can cut this recipe in half for an 8x8 pan that will make about 9 bars. Adjust the cooking times accordingly--15 minutes for the crust, an hour and a half for the cheesecake in the oven.