Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

What’s a holiday meal without a fantastic dessert to finish? These appropriately seasonal Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars were the perfect finale to Thanksgiving dinner. A few weeks prior to the holiday, I noticed the recipe in the American Lifestyle magazine provided by my real estate friend Fran; and I knew I just had to make them. Hubby Russ was on board with the idea too, after all, his 3 kids were joining us this year and we wanted something that would appeal to all of them. Chocolate pretty much does that…

After letting the chocolate ganache set up in the fridge, it was all but impossible to slice through the hard chocolate. Next time I will slice the bars first, move them slightly apart and pour the ganache over the slices letting the chocolate drizzle down the edges. Russ even suggested omitting the butter and adding a bit of heavy cream when making the ganache to give a slightly softer consistency. Makes sense to me…

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And if you’re really in a festive mood, add some chocolate shavings as a garnish…

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. butter
  • cups chocolate crumbs (such as Famous Chocolate Wafers)
  • 2, 8-ounce packages cream cheese, full-fat
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • Milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate curls, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small pot over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of the butter. Pour it over the chocolate crumbs in a medium mixing bowl and use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine and evenly coat the crumbs.
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    I ground up the chocolate wafers in a mini processor.
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  3. Press the chocolate crumbs firmly into a buttered 9×9-inch baking pan, lined with parchment paper that hangs over two sides to create the base and handles for lifting. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
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  4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt. Beat again to combine until smooth. Scrape down the bowl at least once during the process.
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  5. Pour the batter over the cooled chocolate base and return it to the oven to bake another 30 minutes, or until the filling is firm to the touch.
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  6. Remove the bars from the oven and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, use the parchment handles to carefully lift the slab from the pan in one piece, and place on a platter.
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  7. Meanwhile, in a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips and two tablespoons butter. (Here’s where I’ll omit the butter and add a bit of heavy cream next time.)
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  8. Pour the chocolate over the top of the cooled pumpkin layer and use a small offset spatula to help spread evenly. OR, slice the slab into 16 bars and move slightly apart. Then pour the chocolate ganache over them, letting it drizzle over the edges.
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  9. Place the platter in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so the chocolate sets up. If not serving right away, wrap in plastic wrap, then cover with foil. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  10. OPTIONAL: To make small chocolate curls, carefully draw a vegetable peeler across the broad surface of a bar of semisweet or milk chocolate. This works best if the chocolate is at room temperature. For narrower curls, use the side of the bar.

To Make Ahead

Bake and chill cookies as directed; cut into bars. Place in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not freeze.

 

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