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PIECE OF CAKE, PEACE OF MIND

Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time


Last night was night two of my epic weeklong Thanksgiving gorge. Rachel & her housemates Jill, Toni, and Hilary crafted a very classy feast, and dinner was served by candlelight. The dinner was a lot more intimate than the first because not only were we in a much smaller venue, but I was also enjoying my meal with a lot of close friends.The girls didn’t want to make a turkey because they didn’t want everyone to be turkey’d out for the big day, so instead Rachel made a pork roast with baked apples and pears, which she was quite proud of. And rightfully so, I must say, because aside from a bit of the gigantic chunk of meat that was a little too rare, everything else tasted amazing. As a self-proclaimed pork hater, I was impressed by how moist and tasty it all was, especially with the baked pink ladies and cranberry sauce.

I’m not exactly sure who made what besides the pork, but the meal was rounded out with delicious sausage & cornbread dressing, roasted parsnips and other veggies, mashed potatoes with cauliflower (one of my favorites of the night), French grougeres, a pomegranate, persimmon & bleu cheese salad, and of course, lots of gravy. Like I said, it was a classy affair.

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By the time dessert rolled around, everyone was already in limbo between consciousness and a serious food coma, so the item I brought, pumpkin cheesecake bars, was a tough sell. I also had to compete with the warm apple crumble with vanilla ice cream that Toni made and the brownies that seemingly came out of nowhere. Weirdly enough, the biggest hit at dessert seemed to be my cinnamon whipped cream, which people were eating straight from the serving spoon.

Despite everyone’s physical inability to finish off the bars I brought, I thought they turned out pretty well. I was glad I picked a dessert that is supposed to be made ahead of time because I spent all day yesterday finishing up a lab report and only had to make the whipped cream day-of. I took a recipe that I used last year and modified it a bit because I wasn’t happy with the texture. Then I added a gingersnap pecan crust because it sounds great right? And it was, just remember to bake the crust before you pour the filling in to ensure it retains some of its crunch!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Gingersnap Crust

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups gingersnap crumbs (I made mine in the food processor), plus more to top the bars
  • 3/4 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 pecan pieces

Directions:

  1. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by lining it with foil, all the way up the sides. Grease foil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place gingersnap crumbs and pecan pieces in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until the pecan pieces are the size of small gravel.
  3. Add the melted butter and mix to combine.
  4. Press the mixture into the bottom of prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.

For the Filling:

  • 3 8 oz. packages of reduced fat cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Directions:

  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the pumpkin, flour, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth.
  2. Add eggs and mix only until combined.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared crust.
  4. Dust the top with reserved gingersnap pieces, if desired.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until the center is almost set.
  6. Cool bars before covering them and placing them in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.

The recipe makes 24 nicely square bars, cut as shown:

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