A fall treat for all! These pumpkin cheesecake bars have a chewy cookie base, smooth and creamy cheesecake middle and a maple-flavored crowning glory!
Stumped for a fall or Thanksgiving dessert? Look no further than these delectable bars!
Do you have family members who aren’t so crazy about traditional pumpkin pie? I always did–seemed to be split down the middle someplace of lovers and non-lovers.
For those expecting the traditional, there was the good ole pumpkin pie, but I always had other desserts in my arsenal that were pumpkin based, but pretty non-traditional. To be honest, I don’t care for traditional pumpkin pie. I’ll eat it, but it better have plenty of REAL whipped cream on the top. I love pumpkin, just not that dense custardy filling. I prefer something a bit lighter or cheese-cake based. My late husband liked pumpkin pie a little bit better than I did, but he still was not crazy about it. We liked the turtle pumpkin pie, which my pumpkin turtle cheesecake parfaits were based off.
The original recipe for these bars came from a Kraft recipe.
The funny part about these bars is the topping. I tend to use frozen whipped topping for such a purpose, but wanted the maple syrup incorporated. I wasn’t sure how the pre-made topping would fare with that addition though. Despite my love of the convenience of frozen whipped topping, I broke down and used what the original suggested–which I didn’t think was even sold anymore–Dream Whip.
The original recipe isn’t from olden days and I was surprised they still sold this. I remembered the days before Cool Whip where the the only option besides real whipped cream, was Dream Whip. Yep, they still sell it and it’s by the puddings in most grocery stores. Just an aside, I adore real whipped cream–but now that I’m older, I really don’t want to fuss with it anymore, PLUS this ultra-pasteurized stuff does NOT hold up the way it did years ago, so for convenience sake and stability, I used the frozen stuff in the tub.
As a result, the whipped top layer has a denser consistency than regular whipped cream or the frozen whipped topping. It works here very well, because each layer is less dense as you move up to the top, but the top doesn’t become as light as air.
If you want to use the stuff in the tub, then what I’d do is just drizzle it with maple syrup before you serve it or let your guests do it themselves.
- Cookie Base
- 1 box (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 egg
- Cheesecake Layer
- 1 can (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 eggs
- 1 package (4-serving size) pumpkin pie flavored instant pudding -OR- 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix PLUS 1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Top Layer
- 1 envelope Dream Whip
- ⅓ cup milk
- 3 tbs maple syrup
- ground cinnamon for garnish
- Prehat oven to 350 degrees F
- Line a 13x9-inch baking dish with aluminum foil and spray foil with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg and melted butter; blend well
- Press cake mix dough into the prepared pan, forming an even crust; set aside.
- Combine pumpkin, cream cheese, brown sugar, dry pudding mix and eggs in another large bowl.
- Beat until smooth and pour over the crust already in the pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set.
- Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes.
- Using the aluminum foil as handles, remove the bars from the baking pan and set on a rack to cool completely.
- Prepare topping by adding the envelope of Dream Whip the milk and maple syrup to a bowl.
- Mix on low speed of mixer until blended then beat at high speed for about 4 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. The topping may be refrigerated until ready to use.
- Spread Dream Whip mixture on top of cooled bars. Garnish with ground cinnamon.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.