These pumpkin bars have swirls of pumpkin pie filling and creamy cheesecake baked in a buttery graham cracker crust.
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Total Time:
1 hr 20 mins
Are you tired of pumpkin recipes yet? Not me. I can’t get enough of pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice pudding, pumpkin waffles, or pumpkin spice latte crème brûlée. And now that I have discovered these marbled pumpkin cheesecake bars, I’m enjoying pumpkin season even more.
First, it’s cheesecake which is always a good thing in my book. The pumpkin flavor and texture aren’t overbearing here – just enough to still be noted without making you feel like someone put a pumpkin pie in your cheesecake.
Second, they are bars which always feel more easy going than an actual cake. You can cut the bars into any size you want for easy snacking (and sneaking if you’re like my daughter who likes to cut very thin slivers from the edge of a bar because she thinks I won’t notice).
How to Create the Swirls
Creating the pretty swirls for these pumpkin cheesecake bars is easy if you know a little trick.
The most effective method I have found for creating the swirling pattern is to alternate the two fillings in a checkerboard pattern in the pan and then lightly drag a skewer through the mixtures to swirl them. Don’t use a knife or spoon which tends to stir the mixtures together.
The hardest part is knowing when to stop swirling. I tend to “over swirl” and often go about 5 strokes more than I should.
Tips for Irresistible Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- If you don’t have a food processor to process the graham crackers into crumbs, you can also use a large resealable freezer bag and a rolling pin.
Put the graham crackers in the bag and squeeze out as much air as possible then close the bag making sure it is well sealed. Roll the rolling pin over the crackers until they are broken into fine even crumbs.
- Chill the bars thoroughly before cutting. You will get cleaner slices and the crust will be less crumbly.
I didn’t plan well on the day I photographed these bars and had to cut the bars while they were still slightly warm in order to finish taking pictures before rushing off to go pick up kids from school. So the crust in the pictures is more crumbly than it would be if the bars are chilled completely.
- Wipe the knife clean between each cut to get neat cuts each time. This tip actually works great when cutting any type of cheesecake.
These pumpkin bars have swirls of pumpkin and cheesecake and a buttery graham cracker crust.
For the crust
- 8 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
For the filling
- 1 pound (two 8-ounce bars) cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons solid-pack pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
For the crust
- Prep pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 11-by-7-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Make crust. Process graham crackers in a food processor to fine crumbs, about 15 seconds. Add sugar and butter and pulse until combined, about 5 pulses. Sprinkle mixture into prepared pan and press into an even layer on bottom of pan.
- Bake Crust. Bake crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely.
For the filling
- Prep oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- Cheesecake filling. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add flour, salt, and vanilla; beat until combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until just combined. Set aside.
- Pumpkin filling. In another bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Add 3/4 cups of the cream cheese mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir together until fully incorporated.
- Assemble. To assemble the cheesecake, spread 1 cup of the cream cheese mixture into a thin layer on top of the baked crust. Drop 1/4-cup dollops of the pumpkin mixture and the cream cheese mixture in the pan, alternating the two to create a checkerboard pattern. With a wooden skewer or toothpick, swirl the pumpkin filling and the cream cheese filling to create a marbling pattern.
- Bake. Bake until cheesecake is set, 45-50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled, 2-3 hours. Using parchment paper overhang, lift cheesecake out of pan. Cut into bars and serve.
Keywords: pumpkin bars, marbled pumpkin bars, copycat Starbucks pumpkin cheesecake bars