This year I thought I'd post one of my favorite Cheesecake Bar recipes. This recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars is originally from Martha Stewart.com. It's a good recipe as is, but I changed a few things. I make the filling using my mixer, not a food processor. I find the results are smoother, and I'm better able to control the consistency and not overmix. I also use the very best quality dark chocolate. I love a chocolate cookie crust with pumpkin, so there's even more chocolate! These taste and look delicious. You can even stuff these in a school lunch...but only if they last that long.
CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE BARS
FOR THE CRUST
20 chocolate wafer cookies, (half a 9-ounce package)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
FOR THE FILLING
2 packages bar cream cheese, (8 ounces each)
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces dark chocolate, 65-85% cacao, 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 slightly firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
4. Mix cream cheese in standing mixer until smooth. Add sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, flour, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt; mix until combined. Set aside.
5. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until melted--or melt in a double boiler on the stovetop. Add 1 cup pumpkin mixture; stir to combine. Set aside.
6. Pour remaining pumpkin mixture into prepared pan. Drop dollops of chocolate mixture onto pumpkin mixture; swirl. To create swirls, drag the blade of a paring knife through the chocolate and pumpkin mixtures several times to make a marbled pattern. 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.