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September 19, 2010

Recipe Corner: Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

(the finished product)

I'm all about cooking from scratch, but sometimes a little bit of convenience goes a long way. I've heard about The Cake Doctor for years but never had one of her cookbooks. Recently my sister gave me a similar cookbook for my birthday--Taste of Home Cake Mix Creations. Its premise is that each recipe uses a boxed cake mix as part of the ingredients. Today I had to try it out by making Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. I won't get to taste these for a week, as I'm freezing them for next week's baby shower, but I thought I'd share the recipe and pics anyway. Can you smell them in the oven? Mmmm, Fall!

The bars called for pumpkin pie spice as one of the ingredients. Although I had all the components, I was out of that mix. So I looked up a recipe from the internet and broke it down into its parts.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert
from Taste of Home Cake Mix Creations

1 pkg (16 oz.) pound cake mix
3 eggs
2 Tbsp butter, melted
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
whipped cream, optional

(cake mix, egg, and melted butter)

In large bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 egg, butter, and 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice until crumbly. Press into a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish; set aside.

(crust layer, patted into pan)

In a separate large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the pumpkin, milk, cinnamon, salt, and remaining pie spice. Pour into crust; sprinkle with nuts. Place pan on a baking sheet.

(prepared bars just before baking)

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until set. Cool. Refrigerate until serving. Cut into squares; garnish with whipped cream if desired.

My modifications: I used a smaller pan to make deeper bars because I'm going to a small group function and I didn't want a ton of portions left over. Because I had such a deep-set tray I left them in the oven on the long side to make sure they were cooked through. And as I said, I froze the pan for a week before serving, so I hope the consistency will hold up to that. I'll have to let you know in a follow-up.

What's your favorite bar cookie? Do you often use Cake Doctor-type recipes? Please leave a comment on the blog if you try out this recipe.

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