You guys, I love YouTube. Not just because it’s fun to create videos and offer you guys more than words and photos, but because I always turn to it when I’m in a bad mood and need a little pick me up. There’s always something so ridiculous and so funny, you can’t help but smile and laugh despite yourself.
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t take criticism as well as I’d wish. And the other day I got a hefty dose of it and it brought me down. Luckily, most of my interactions online, both personal and here on Handle the Heat are wonderful. I rarely get mean or rude comments and when I do, they’re usually so silly I can just brush them off. But when something really hits home, it’s hard to say “whatever” or try to reason with yourself. It’s those moments where you feel that pit in your stomach, where you briefly question everything you do, that goofy videos on YouTube become a life saver. Namely, that ridiculous video of Jimmy Fallon interviewing Bradley Cooper and neither one of them can stop laughing to save their lives. That brought me right back around!
I don’t know why but whenever I see someone cry in real life or on TV or movies, I almost always start crying. Luckily the same goes for delirious laughter. It’s just contagious! Does anyone else turn to funny videos when you’re having a bad day or feeling a bit down? I’d love to see your favorites!
Beyond videos, food is always something that can change your mood. Just knowing that these Creme Brule Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars are sitting in the fridge, waiting to be enjoyed, is enough to put me in a good mood! These cheesecake bars are the BOMB. They have every single flavor and texture I adore. Jared actually said that they were the “best pumpkin thing I’ve ever eaten.” I think I might agree! I hope you make these soon. They’re a little messy to eat, and you may want to let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes because the chocolate layer does get pretty firm, but they’re so worth any mess. Promise!
If you make these Creme Brule Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars, be sure to take a picture and tag it #handletheheat on Instagram. I love seeing your photos!
Taste: Jared said these were the best pumpkin dessert he’s ever had and I have to agree! The pumpkin flavor is perfect and I just LOVE it partnered with a generous layer of chocolate. Plus the caramelized sugar on top. Oh my. There are no words!
Texture: There are so many textures here I am obsessed!! The crust is buttery and crunchy, the chocolate layer is thick, firm, and rich, the pumpkin cheesecake is luscious and creamy, and the bruleed sugar on top is thin, shattering, and crisp. Ahhh.
Ease: Really pretty easy considering how impressive it looks and tastes! If you don’t have a kitchen torch you can always use your oven’s broiler, just keep an eye on it the entire time.
Appearance: Absolutely gorgeous.
Pros: About 1000 times better than plain boring pumpkin pie!
Cons: These are a little messy to eat but as long as you don’t mind getting a few crumbs on you, it’s wonderful.
Would I make this again? Absolutely yes every pumpkin season!
How to make Creme Brule Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Yield: 9 large bars or 16 smaller bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook: 4 hours 10 minutes
For the crust:
9 whole graham crackers
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
For the filling:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
For the brulee topping:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil, leaving an overhang.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned and set, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Bake for another 2 minutes. Remove from oven and smooth the melted chocolate chips with an offset spatula. Let cool and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
For the filling:
Place the cream cheese in a clean food processor bowl and pulse until smooth (you can also use an electric mixer). Add the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, flour, salt, and spices and pulse until combined and smooth. Do not overmix.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the cheesecake is set but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 45 minutes. Do no overbake.
Place the cheesecake on a cooling rack to cool completely in the pan. Cover and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. Using the foil overhang, transfer the cheesecake to a work surface and use a big sharp knife to cut into squares.
For the brulee topping:
On a heat-safe work surface, sprinkle the tops of each square with sugar and torch the tops with a kitchen torch until it turns a deep amber color. Alternatively, use a broiler to brown the sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Note that the chocolate layer does get a bit hard if these bars are very cold, so you may want to let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.
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