There’s no need to choose between pumpkin and pecan pie with these Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake Bars! Your Thanksgiving guests will thank you!
In case you haven’t looked at your calendar, we’re one week away from Thanksgiving! If you haven’t yet settled on what to make yet, these Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake Bars would make a perfect addition to your spread!
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, most pumpkin pie is either too sweet or too pumpkiny for me. Maybe it’s because a lot of people use pumpkin pie filling instead of making it themselves (don’t do that) but I can hardly ever get through a whole piece. In the same sense, pecan pie is often too sweet and too pecany for me. Weird, I know. These bars, however, are my perfect compromise. They have a buttery graham cracker crust, which I SO prefer to a regular pie crust, a thick layer of decadent cheesecake, and pecan topping that tastes like those holiday nuts you can get in the mall. I can almost smell them now…
What’s your favorite holiday dessert? I’m SO ready for all the Christmas cookies!
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (roughly 15 graham cracker sheets)
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 8-ounce packages full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 and ½ cups white sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper (leave an overhang to be able to pull out these bars easily) and set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the crust ingredients and mix until everything is evenly moistened. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 8 minutes, remove, allow to cool.
- In another bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, (It is essential that the cream cheese is at room temperature for a smooth texture.) sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat until completely smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and beat until each is combined.
- Remove half of this mixture and pour on top of the prepared crust.
- Add the canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice to the remaining cheesecake mixture and stir until completely combined.
- Careful not to combine the two layers, pour the pumpkin layer on top of the plain cheesecake layer. Place the baking pan on a baking sheet in case of spills. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- While the filling is baking, prepare the topping by combining the butter, brown sugar, honey, heavy cream and vanilla in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir over medium heat for about a minute and stir in the chopped pecans.
- Remove the bars from the oven and pour the pecans on top spreading it evenly over the surface, being careful not to disturb the cheesecake.
- Return to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let the bars cool completely before transferring to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. Lift the bars out with the parchment. Slice and serve. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.