Oh my. These bars. These puppies are dangerously amazing. Pumpkin cheesecake on a brown sugar - graham cracker crust, swirled with homemade salted caramel...I'm drooling just typing this. I have made these bars twice, both because the first time I didn't get to take a picture in the 5 minutes between me cutting them and them being completely eaten and because they were so tasty I wanted, no needed, to eat them again. And the first time I only got one tiny square, which is so not fair.
Lots of people tend to shy away from making your own caramel sauce. It sounds tricky and dangerous and finicky and you think you need fancy equipment like a candy thermometer and a wizard's hat (I've been reading the book The Magicians, which is kind of loosely like an adult Harry Potter, so of course all I can think about is magic. Which is fitting because these bars are. Magic, that is). But this sauce is so easy to make you will be thrilled. And no fancy equipment is needed! Your waistline will hate you once you figure out how easy it is to make these. Make these bars. Make a lot of them. And then give some away because you will probably eat them all. And if that should indeed happen, just accept it.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Salted Caramel Swirls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Keywords: dessert caramel cream cheese pumpkin bar fall
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 TBSP cornstarch
- pinch salt
- 1 egg
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 TBSP flour
- 1/3 cup salted caramel sauce (recipe below)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line an 8x8 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ingredients for the crust.
Press evenly and firmly into the bottom of the pan.
In a medium bowl (you can use the same bowl as before! yay for less dishes!) combine the ingredients for the filling (ommiting the salted caramel) and beat with an electric mixer until combined. Don't over mix.
Pour the filling over the crust.
Drizzle the salted caramel sauce in several parallel lines over the filling.
Use a knife to draw lines perpendicular to the caramel (go first one way, then the other) to create the swirls.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the center is set with a tiny bit of jiggle and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean.
Cool the bars for 1 hour on a wire rack.
Place the bars in the refrigerator to cool for 2 hours - overnight before slicing into bars and eating!Salted Caramel
In a medium saucepan with tall sides, combine the water and sugar.
Heat over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to boil without stirring.
Being very very careful, use a wet pastry brush to wipe down the sides of the pan, removing any sugar crystals stuck there (these could make your sauce grainy).
Boil the mixture 5-6 minutes, until a deep amber color.
Remove the pan from heat and very carefully whisk in the cream (adding the cream will cause the mixture to bubble vigorously.)
Whisk in the vanilla (it will bubble again).
Stir in the butter and salt.
Transfer to a glass jar with a lid and allow to cool (it will thicken as it cools).
Store in the fridge for several months, if it lasts that long!
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