In the "I rarely have a sweet tooth" weirdness that is my gastronomic cravings, there is a sub-topic that makes people really clutch their pearls: I don't really like cheesecake. I feel like I should like it because it's the decadent cousin to all the sweets I do like: creamy mousses, panna cotta, ice creams. Not the case. As it turns out, I'm even pickier about cheesecakes than I am most other desserts. It's often a texture nightmare and, quite frankly, it's too dense and too sweet a lot of the time. Oh yeah…and that "cheesecake" with the commercial grade cherry or strawberry sauce on it? Oy.
What I do like is pumpkin. I also like tiny doses of dark chocolate. Having both of them in the cabinet was just screaming for me to combine them. I don't make bar desserts nearly enough and it's something that everyone really does love. I figured this way, I could make them, have a little sample, and send them off with my sweetie to work.
That's exactly what I did because these bad boys are RICH. I used bittersweet chocolate (from Scharffen Berger. thanks, BlogHerFood!) to cut some of the sweetness. I went a little crazy with my swirls on top – if you want perfectly made desserts, go see Helen's blog. These are what I look for in a bar: rustic, gooey and sweet. The recipe says it makes 16 bars – you could EASILY cut this recipe into smaller pieces and everyone's sweet tooth would be taken care of.
Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars – makes 16 generous sized bars – original recipe found here
FOR THE CRUST
FOR THE FILLING
– 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.
– In a food processor, blend cookies with sugar until finely ground (you should have about 1 cup crumbs); add butter, and pulse until moistened.
– 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.
– Place cream cheese in food processor; blend until smooth. Add sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, flour, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt; process until combined. Set aside. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until melted. Add 1 cup pumpkin mixture; stir to combine. Set aside.
– Pour remaining pumpkin mixture into prepared pan. Drop dollops of chocolate mixture onto pumpkin mixture; swirl. Bake until cheesecake is set but jiggles slightly when gently shaken, 40 to 50 minutes.
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.