Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Confession time. I’m officially two holidays behind on my blog posts. I know. Ridiculous. For some reason, I can’t seem to blog and move across 7 states/drive 3,000+ miles/unpack boxes/sight-see in NYC/deal with 2 anxious cats/visit multiple friends and relatives at the same time. Maybe I’m bad at multitasking. Maybe I’ve just been ridiculously busy. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter, because I know for a fact that I’m good at multitasking.

Now, I haven’t been remiss in baking things. Trust me. Goodies were baked. Treats were consumed. I was loved for them. Photographs were even taken before said baked goods were consumed. The actual posting about said baked goods was the step that was overlooked.

I could have just saved these photos and recipes for next year and no one would have been the wiser. But then I thought, why does pumpkin have to be reserved for Thanksgiving? And can’t we make peppermint meringues in January if we so desire?

So without further ado, I give you my Thanksgiving/Christmas favorites. I’ll post each separately over the next few days. Personally, I’m loving this. I get to relive all of my favorite holiday treats without making a mess of my kitchen. Which is still in the process of being unpacked. Which we’re not going to talk about right now. Deal?

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from My Recipes

Active time: 20 minutes
Start to finish: 4.5 hours (including chill time)
Makes 12 bars

For the crust
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

For the filling
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch-square pan with foil so that foil overhangs sides. Mist with cooking spray.

Make crust: process graham crackers in food processor until ground. Add sugar and pulse until blended. Pulse in butter. Press evenly into pan. Bake until firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly.

Make filling: With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin, then eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in vanilla, flour, spice and salt until just combined.

Pour mixture into pan. Put pan on a large rimmed baking sheet; place in oven. Pour hot water into baking sheet until it’s nearly filled. Bake until cheesecake is set around edges but jiggles slightly in center, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove pan from sheet; cool completely on rack. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours.

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