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Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

I adore Halloween, it may be one of my favorite holidays; not that that’s saying much since I adore most holidays and love a good theme. But anyways, my love of Halloween is probably linked to my love fall – which is tied with spring for my favorite season. I love the changing leaves, fall apples, pumpkin carving (and roasted pumpkin seeds), and costumes – even if I’m not really dressing up this year. So, when I was thinking about recipes for a couple of things I was attending this week, I knew I wanted to use pumpkin and apples… just wasn’t entirely sure how. The apples decided to lend themselves to a brie apple tart (which I’ll share soon) and the pumpkin, to some scrumptious cheesecake bars.

Now, I am still trying to watch what I eat, so I did what I could to lighten this recipe up a bit… but it’s still not healthy. It is however worth every single calorie… they were wonderful moist and flavorful and I LOVED the crust. Everything in moderation… right?

Anyhow, hope you have a happy Halloween (full of pumpkins and candy)! I’m off to enjoy my neighborhood’s Halloween parade and hand out candy!

Wishing you a happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars (Adapted from Epicurious)

Crust:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 c gingersnap cookie crumbs
1 c pecans
¼ c packed brown sugar
¼ c butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350⁰ and spray a 9”x13”x2” pan with nonstick spray.

Grind cookie crumbs, pecans, and brown sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter and pulse to blend. Pour mixture to prepared pan and press onto bottom.

Bake about 10 minutes, until crust is set and lightly browned. Cool completely.

Filling:

4 8-ounce packages fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
½ c packed brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
5 large eggs
3 Tbs all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350⁰.

Using a mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin. Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed to incorporate. Add flour, spices, and salt; beat to blend. Beat in vanilla.

Pour filling over cooled crust.

Bake until filling is just set in center and edges begin to crack, about 50 minutes to an hour. Cool 1 hour. Run knife around sides of pan to release crust.

Topping:

2 cups mini marshmallows or large marshmallows cut into 1/2-inch cubes
¼ c skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 c reduced fat sour cream

In medium saucepan over low heat combine marshmallows and milk, stirring until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Allow marshmallow mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Add sour cream to marshmallow mixture and fold gently until blended. Pour topping over bars and spread evenly, leaving the edge uncovered. Chill at least one hour to set topping. Cut into bars.

Note: I noticed my topping developed some gelatin balls once I added the sour cream. Don’t know if this occurred because I put the cold sour cream in before the marshmallow mixture cooled completely, but I was a bit annoyed.

36 servings per pan: 1 bar– (estimated) 176 Calories, 5.7 g Fat, 24.4 Carbs, 0.8 g Fiber, 6.6 g Protein

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