Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Ginger Snap Crust
Approximately 12 years ago my aunt brought pumpkin cheesecake bars from a local bakery to our family Thanksgiving party, I fell in love. They were decadent, but not overly sweet, and had a mousse like consistency. The bakery has since closed, but I never stopped thinking about those bars. So, I’ve decided to make my own, adding an extra level of delicious spice with a ginger snap crust. This pumpkin cheesecake is perfectly rich with the silkiest texture.
· 9 ounces ginger snap cookies
· 6 ounces graham crackers
· ½ cup unsalted butter-melted
· ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
· 16 ounces cream cheese-softened
· 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 teaspoons cinnamon
· ½ teaspoon nutmeg
· 1 teaspoon ginger
· 1 15 ounce can of unsweetened pumpkin puree
· 3 egg
· 2 cups fresh whipped cream
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13 X 9-inch baking sheet, then line with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a food processer fitted with a steel blade combine the ginger snap cookies and graham crackers. Pulse until fine crumbs form, then add the salt and melted butter. Pulse an additional 4 times until the mixture looks like wet sand.
3. Transfer the gingersnap mixture to the lined baking sheet. Use your finger to firmly press the crumbs into the pan, forming an even crust. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside and let cool completely.
4. While the crust bakes rinse the bowl and blade of the food processor. Reassemble the food processor and combine the cream cheese and granulated sugar, process until smooth and creamy.
5. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and pumpkin puree to the cream cheese mixture and process until evenly to combined. Scrape down the sides of the food processor, then add the eggs, one at a time, pulsing to incorporate each time.
6. Pour the cheesecake filling over the cooled ginger snap crust. Place the baking dish in the center of a large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. To create a water bath, add 2-3 cups of hot water, until the water comes about half way up the baking dish with the cheesecake. Carefully transfer to the oven.
7. Bake for 1 ½ hours, until the edges of the cheesecake are set. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake sit in the cooling oven for an additional half hour. Remove from oven and let set in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
8. Once the cheesecake has set completely, slice into bars and top with fresh whipped cream. Serve at room temperature or chilled.