I guess bars have become my new favorite dessert.
Maybe it’s because they’re easy to throw together and serve.
Maybe it’s because Autumn flavors offer so many bar-compatible combinations and I absolutely adore the flavors of Fall.
Whatever the reason, the certainly make one legitimate, satisfying dessert.
CINNAMON CARAMEL PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE SHORTBREAD CRUMBLE BARS
That’s a mouthful, huh?
I’ll break it down.
Buttery, super tender shortbread crust .
Topped with a layer of creamy, rich, not too sweet pumpkin cheesecake.
Topped with a swirling of sour cream cheesecake batter.
Topped with a crumbly, cinnamon-y, buttery, shortbread crumble.
Topped with a heavy drizzle of thick, cinnamon-spiced caramel.
Anything with that many layers of wonder HAS to be good.
AND IT IS.
Now, I know it seems like a lot of components.
BUT, it’s not as bad as all that.
The shortbread is made, 1/3 of it is reserved(the other 2/3 is pressed into the baking pan) and oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar are quickly mixed in in the same bowl.
The cheesecake is the same sort of deal. The cheesecake batter is made, almost all of it is poured over the crust(which has been par-baked at this point), and the little bit of batter that is left is mixed with sour cream and swirled on top of the cheesecake batter.
Sprinkle that crumble over the top and bake.
While it’s baking, you can make the caramel sauce. Or, you can make it ahead of time, if you like. *Just note that this caramel is quite a thick one, and will need to be re-heated to be thin enough to pour if you make it ahead of time.
If you are looking for the perfect dessert to feed a crowd this Fall season, this would definitely be the one to go with.
I like to double the recipe so that I can serve 20-30 people(depending on how small the bars are cut).
A NOTE ON DOUBLING THE RECIPE:
If you decide to double the recipe, line a full baking sheet with parchment paper, making sure that the parchment reaches well over all sides of the pan. When you pour the cheesecake batter, and topping in, along with the crumble, you will be all the way to the top of the pan. I was a little worried that the cheesecake would puff up too much, but it turned out perfectly. Nothing went over the pan. BUT, only use 3 eggs instead of four, if doubling. If you use all 4, there is a chance that the extra egg could raise that cheesecake right over the pan. 3 eggs will still give you a wonderful cheesecake.
- 2½ sticks(1¼ C.) Butter, softened
- 2½ C. Flour
- ⅔ C. Powdered Sugar
- ½ C. Oats
- ½ t. Cinnamon
- ¼ C. Brown Sugar(lightly packed)
- 2 pkg.(16 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
- ½ C. Sugar
- 1 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 t. Vanilla
- ¾ C.(heaping) Pumpkin Puree
- 2 Eggs
- ½ C. Sour Cream
- FOR THE CINNAMON CARAMEL:
- ½ C. Sugar
- 2 T. Water
- ⅓ C. Heavy Cream
- 1 T. Butter
- ¼ t. Cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9x13" baking pan with parchment paper(parchment paper should go all the way up the sides).
- Place the softened butter, flour, and powdered sugar in a bowl and mix together until it just forms a dough.
- Place ⅔ of the in the prepared pan and press evenly over the bottom.
- Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven and remove.
- While the crust is par-baking, add the oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar to the remaining ⅓ of the dough and mix together until the dough is broken down into medium sized crumbs. Set aside.
- Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese until very smooth, scraping down the sides 2-3 times.
- Add the sugar and pumpkin pie spice to the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Scrape down sides.
- Add the vanilla and pumpkin puree and beat until smooth. Scrape down sides.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time, scrape down sides after mixing in and give one more good mix to make sure that the batter is perfectly smooth.
- Pour all but ½ C. of the cream cheese mixture over the par-baked crust and smooth out evenly.
- Mix the remaining ½ C. of batter and sour cream together.
- Spoon the sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake batter(in several different areas)and swirl over the entire pan.
- Sprinkle the reserved crumble evenly over the top of the cheesecake batter.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in preheated oven or until the cheesecake is puffy and the crumble is golden brown.
- Let cool. Refrigerate until cold(I like to pop them in the freezer for 30-45 minutes so I can cut them sooner).
- TO MAKE THE CINNAMON CARAMEL:
- Place the sugar and water in a saute pan. Stir together until all the sugar is moistened. Heat on high and bring to a boil. Brush the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent sugar crystals from forming. When the sugar turns a deep, amber color, pour in the cream, butter and cinnamon. Mixture will bubble up intensely. Let bubble until mixture becomes smooth.
- Remove from heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Drizzle the cinnamon caramel over the bars.
- Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the parchment paper and sliding them out.
- Cut into 12-15 bars.