When I first starting becoming interested in cooking and baking in high school I remember baking a pumpkin chocolate cheesecake not unlike this recipe. The memory is a little fuzzy (not like it was even that long ago!) but I recall being excited about how something I managed to make could be so sinfully delicious. I wish I could remember the recipe or at least which magazine I tore it from. It’s funny how entangled scent and taste are with each other and how strongly they can evoke a memory or a feeling. Once as a kid my family took a road trip to Mexico and I ate a bunch of these little brownie bites from the grocery store in the car. Of course, after some winding roads I ended up getting car sick and to this day the smell of those brownie bites still makes me feel a little bit queasy.
Now that I’ve whetted your appetites…
Taste: I happen to love the combination of chocolate with pumpkin, especially when there’s tangy cream cheese involved. To me, it feels like fall!
Texture: Luscious, thick, and smooth with a wonderful crunchy, buttery crust.
Ease: Much easier than baking a traditional cheesecake.
Appearance: I love the pumpkin and chocolate swirl! Would be fun for Halloween or Thanksgiving or any old day.
Pros: Easy yet impressive dessert.
Cons: You have to wait for these cheesecake to chill, simply torturous!
Would I make this again? Oh yeah.
Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, substitute with a 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon cloves.
Yield: 16 bars
For the Crust:
20 chocolate wafer cookies (half of a 9-ounce package)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
For the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.
In a food processor, pulse the wafer cookies and sugar until finely ground (you should have about 1 cup of crumbs). Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until slightly firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Filling:
Place the cream cheese in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and pulse until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Place the chopped chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until smooth and melted. Add 1 cup of the cream cheese-pumpkin mixture and stir to combine.
Pour the remaining cream cheese-pumpkin mixture into prepared baking pan. Drop dollops of the chocolate mixture onto pumpkin mixture and swirl with the blunt end of a skewer. Bake at 350°F until the cheesecake is set but is still slightly jiggly, about 40 to 50 minutes. Do not overbake.
Place the cheesecake on a cooling rack to cool completely in pan. Cover and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Using the overhang, transfer cheesecake to a cutting board to cut into squares before serving.
Everyday Food, November 2006