Sometimes you find a recipe online or in a cookbook that totally fails, even though you followed it to the letter. It happens to most bakers at some point or another, and we just chalk it up to a learning experience. But other times you hit the jackpot, as was my experience with these amazing treats. Billed as pumpkin streusel bars by Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction, and incredibly reliable baker and blogger, I chose to call my version pumpkin cheesecake bars because they remind me so much of cheesecake.
My version uses sour cream instead of Greek yogurt, and I added more nutmeg to the batter and also tossed some nutmeg into the streusel – but otherwise the recipe is the same, so Sally deserves the credit rather than me. I’ll definitely make these again and might mix some toasted pecans into the streusel next time.
For the crust
- 1 1/4 cups gingersnap cookies
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
For the streusel and icing
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Dash of nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 – 3 teaspoons water
Preheat oven to 325. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over the sides.
Make your streusel and keep in the fridge while you prepare the crust and filling: combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and spices in a small bowl. Rub (or cut) in butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
Mix the gingersnap cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter together and press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes; turn oven temperature up to 350 degrees.
While crust is baking, prepare the filling. Beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in pumpkin, sour cream, and spices until mixture is creamy. Pour onto crust and top with streusel.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, covering the top with foil around 30-35 minutes to prevent over-browning. Bars are done when very lightly browned and the center is set; I used a cake tester to make sure they were done in the middle. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour, then chill for 3 hours in the fridge. Before serving, mix powdered sugar and water together to form a drizzly icing and drizzle over bars.
Makes 12 or 16 bars, depending on how large you make them – mine made 16. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days – these bars become sticky after a day or so, but they are still absolutely delicious.