I decided to cook the cover of Southern Living Magazine for this month. Nothing embraces a southern Thanksgiving, like pumpkin & cream cheese. Of course I made a few alterations but then again, that's what recipes are for, right? Since I didn't have a spring-form pan (as I am sure, most of you don't either), I decided to use an 8x8 square baking dish, this also means I cut the recipe in half. Essentially, taking a cheesecake & turning into fun size bars. This way it's more flexible in serving size, you can cut off a small square, for a snack or a big square for your perfect family dessert. It's hard to cut a small slice of cheesecake & have it hold up, like this will. This recipe is so easy & most of your time is spent waiting for it to set overnight but it's well worth every second. We loved it! And this will be my go to recipe for all things cheesecake from here on out. You have to try this, your family will love it, I promise.
1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (used 2 tsp but we really love this stuff, so depending on how much pumpkin pie flavor you desire, alter accordingly)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
Garnish with crumbled chocolate graham crackers
Preheat oven to 325F. In a small bowl stir together first 3 ingredients, until combined. Press in the bottom of a parchment lined 8x8 square baking dish. Bake for 8-10 mins to set.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar & extract in a stand mixer, at medium speed, until smooth. Add eggs, spices & salt, continue beating til well combined. Finally add pumpkin, beating til everything comes together. Pour batter over crust & bake for 40 minutes (be sure to watch it, so it doesn't brown on top). Once it's set, turn oven off & leave oven door closed for 15 mins. Remove & let cool completely on a wire rack. Cover & chill for 8 hrs or overnight. Cut into bars & serve.
Servings depends on big/small you cut them, up to 9 large bars or 12-16 small bars