This past weekend the boys carved their first round of pumpkins. When I say “boys,” I suppose I should clarify who I mean. Maybe, the “guys” would be a more accurate portrayal of those who were making jack-o-lanterns. It wasn’t just Ash and Nate, our seven year old twins. No, there might have been a 40-something and 30-something in the mix as well. No matter, there were pumpkins all over the place this past weekend, and there are still pumpkins all over the place, today! The most delicious place I found them though, was on my kitchen counter – in the form of these babies, one of my very first bonafide recipe creations. Ladies and gentlemen of the food blogging world, it is my pleasure to introduce to you, The Chocolate and Pumpkin Cheese Bar. Deeeeelicous!
Food blogs can be vehicles of self-revelation. I love all sorts of foods and combinations and flavors derived of them. A few weeks ago, I touched upon my lifelong love of the friendly and delicious pumpkin, when I put together a really tasty and fun pumpkin cake roll. Prior to that post, you may recall we did a piece on something my good friend Karen put together, some pumpkin snickerdoodle bread. Honestly, how can it get any better than either one of those delicious treats?
To that end, I confess that I have had Pumpkin on the Brain for several days now. It’s been in my thoughts so much, likely even in my dreams, although I can’t say for certain. Pumpkin pie will always be a favorite of mine, and I just know I will have to do a post on that little diddy, prior to autumn’s finish.
I shared these bars with some friends at work and they were very well received. Some of the feedback I heard was there was not too much sweetness and yet a solid pumpkin taste. These are relatively light tasting and make an excellent seasonal dessert. Please, give them a try and let me know what you think!
Pumpkin and Chocolate Cheese Bars
- 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar divided
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ¾ cup cold butter cubed
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 2 tablespoons Craisins
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 oz evaporated milk
- 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Together in small bowl, combine ¼ cup sugar and brown sugar, cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in oats. Reserve 1 cup for topping.
- Press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of 13x9 inch baking pan, prepared with non-stick spray or coating
- Bake 15 minutes.
- Over medium heat in small sauce pan, combine chocolate and evaporated milk. Stir in ¼ cup sugar and stir until melted, reducing heat to low until ready to use.
- In medium sized mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, spices, and remaining ½ cup sugar, beat until smooth. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and eggs, beat on low speed until just blended.
- Pour chocolate mixture over warm crust, using back of spoon to evenly distribute.
- Evenly sprinkle Craisins over chocolate layer.
- Pour pumpkin mixture over chocolate, sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
- Bake 25 minutes, until center is set. Cool on wire rack.
- Serve upon cooling, or refrigerate for later consumption.