Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusal Bars

Whew! That's quite the name, isn't it? Well, it's also quite the dessert, and I can't see how you could possible shorten the name. They're not plain ol' pumpkin bars, not these fellows. And it certainly isn't pumpkin cheesecake... So the name sticks for now, but it doesn't matter. You're going to forget all about the silly name the second you bite into these suckers.

 To begin, add oatmeal cookie mix, ginger snaps, and cold cubed butter into your food processor. Pulse it until it's nice and crumbly.

Like this. Now, my food processor is ridiculously small, and truly not made for this type of endeavor, so I ended up splitting the cookie base into two batches. If you're lucky enough to have a normal sized food processor, life will be much simpler for you. If you're so unlucky you don't even HAVE a food processor, then just crush the cookies and cut the butter in.
Reserve one cup of the crumbs and set aside. Press the remaining crumbs into a 9x13 pan and bake for ten minutes. Your kitchen is going to smell good.

While you're giving the cookie base ten minutes to cool, wash out your food processor bowl. Throw in your cream cheese and sugar. See that cream cheese on the right there? It looks a little sad... that's because it was previously frozen. They say you can't freeze cream cheese, but it's totally fine if you do. It just looks a little sad at first. It needs love. So let's pulse it up some...

Ah! And it's smooth and creamy as the stuff you put on the baby's bottom. Uh. Sorry. I won't go there now. Anyway, it's fine. So stock up on cream cheese when it's on sale (usually around the holidays) and feel free to freeze it for six months.

Ok, so I gave up on trying to make the food processor work. I dumped the sweetened cream cheese in my KitchenAid, along with the pumpkin, flour, pumpkin pie spice, whipping cream, and two eggs.

Now, you food processor gals just keep going in the food processor. No need to messy up another bowl! Once you've got everything mixed, just scrape the sides to make sure everything is incorporated.

Pour the filling onto your warm cookie base and spread around. Top with the 1 cup of streusal crumbs you set aside.
Bake until the filling is set. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Drizzle with a little chocolate'n'caramel action, and you have yourself Dessert! Here's the recipe, thanks to our Betty Crocker friends:
Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusal Bars

1 pouch Betty Crocker® oatmeal cookie mix
1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
2 packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 eggs
1/3 cup chocolate topping
1/3 cup caramel topping

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, crushed cookies and pecans. Cut in butter, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 1 cup mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture in bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining filling ingredients; beat until well blended. Pour over warm cookie base. Sprinkle with reserved topping.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.

Before serving, drizzle with chocolate and caramel toppings. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

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