Now that school's back in session and I don't have oodles of free time like I did over the summer, I miss my precious baking time dearly. Although I've been exhausted every night as I adjust to my new routine, I find that baking is a cathartic way to unwind when I come home from a long day.
These Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars could not be more fall-ish. A few people I shared them with said that they taste like Halloween. They're rich and decadent, but still have an airy, fluffy quality to them. They're the perfect tool to help oneself cope with the fact that summer is truly over.
My grocery store didn't have chocolate wafer cookies, so I bought a pack of Oreos, and using a lifetime of experience, carefully separated them so I could use just the side with no filling for the crust. Then I used my kitchen scale to weigh out 4.5 oz. of halves. That, my friends, is love. But what in the world should I do with all of these?
Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Everyday Baking
For the Crust:
20 chocolate wafer cookies, (half a 9-ounce package)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling:
2 packages bar cream cheese (8 ounces each), softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, blend cookies with sugar until finely ground (you should have about 1 cup crumbs); add butter, and pulse until moistened.
3. Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and press gently into bottom. Bake until fragrant and slightly firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
4. Place softened cream cheese in food processor; blend until smooth. Add sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, flour, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt; process until combined. Set aside.
5. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until melted. Add 1 cup of the pumpkin mixture; stir to combine. Set aside.
6. Pour remaining pumpkin mixture into prepared pan. Drop dollops of chocolate mixture onto pumpkin mixture; swirl with a butter knife. Bake until cheesecake is set but jiggles slightly when gently shaken, 40 to 50 minutes.
7. Cool in pan. Cover; chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days). Using overhang, transfer cake to work surface. With a knife dipped in water, cut into 16 squares. Serve.