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Pumpkin  Pie Cheesecake Bars

These Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake bars are so irresistible! We had our best friends down to visit this past weekend and I made these bars for dessert – they were a big hit. Even my husband who isn’t a sweets person asks me every night after dinner if we can have pumpkin bars. He NEVER asks me for dessert.

I adapted this recipe from the Kraft website (http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/maple-pumpkin-pie-bars-154946.aspx) and it’s so good that I have to give it a wonderful review and also share it with you!

I had a very hard time finding two ingredients required to make this: Pumpkin Spice Jello Instant Pudding and Dream Whip Whipped topping mix. I’ve seen both of these ingredients at Wegmans in NY in previous Fall seasons, but since we’re in NC now I had to do a lot of looking around.

I hit 5 different grocery stores, Target and Wal-Mart. I finally found the Dream Whip at Lowe’s Foods, which I will now shop at more often because they have a wonderful variety of products that other grocery stores here don’t have and I found the Pumpkin Spice pudding at Wal-Mart. I bought 2 of them in case this recipe is a hit. I may make these bars again over Thanksgiving because they are so good!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 15oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 3.4oz. box pumpkin spice instant pudding
  • 1 envelope of dream whip topping mix
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 t cinnamon

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350. Mix the cake mix, 1 egg and melted butter in a medium bowl until just combined. Press this mixture into the bottom of a foil lined and sprayed baking pan.

2) Mix cream cheese, brown sugar, and 3 eggs until well combined in the bowl of your mixer. Next, mix in the pumpkin and then the pudding mix until well combined. Spread cream cheese mixture over top of the cake crust.

3) Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set, and/or a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. You may need to play around with the cooking time. The Kraft recipe says to bake for 45 minutes, but the cheesecake is definitely not set after only 45 minutes. Allow to cool in the baking pan for about 15 minutes, then pull bars out by holding onto the foil and transfer onto a cooling rack.

4) When bars are completely cooled, make whipped topping. In the bowl of your mixer, mix dream whip, milk, maple syrup and cinnamon for about 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. The Kraft recipe has the cinnamon spread over the top of the bars rather than incorporated into the whipped topping mix. Personally I like how the cinnamon flavor works to compliment the sweet maple flavor. With the cinnamon mixed right into the whipped topping the bars are nice and neat, and the cinnamon is evenly distributed throughout the topping.

Keep in mind that the bars are still in the foil at this point for easy transportation in/out of the refrigerator. Spread whipped topping evenly onto the cheesecake layer. Refrigerate for about an hour to let flavors combine.

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5) Cut into bars and store in refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 1 week. Makes up to 32 bars.

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