Desserts

Lightened-Up Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Lightened-Up Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
With an easy cinnamon graham cracker crust, creamy pumpkin center, and a gorgeous cheesecake swirl topping, these lightened up pumpkin bars are sure to be a hit at your Thanksgiving gathering.
 

I made several batches of pumpkin bars before finally settling on this one as my favorite. It can be a tricky thing to reduce the sugar and fat, in baking, without compromising texture or flavor but finally, after my family and friends endured taste testing after taste testing,😉 we decided that this batch delivered all the creamy, pumpkin spice infused, sweet tooth satisfying, aspects that one expects from a pumpkin bar. I doubt anyone would even know that they are devouring a healthy dessert, which is most definitely what I am going for in a lower calorie treat

Lightened-Up Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

The recipe itself is pretty basic, no fancy ingredients, but I want to mention why I didn’t use just pumpkin spice in the filling. It would have been a smidge easier but I found that when I reduced the sugar in the pumpkin filling, it became necessary to amp up the spices a bit to compensate for that lost sugar. Adding in an extra little bit of cloves and nutmeg did the trick and no one was the wiser to my healthy upgrade. Although I recommend using the additional clove and nutmeg, if you’re in a pinch, you could always just increase the pumpkin spice to 4 teaspoons. It won’t have quite the same flavor but will still be very tasty.
Lightened-Up Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

The only other modification would be to leave out the cheesecake portion if you aren’t a cheesecake fan, and simply top with whipped cream. I love the cheesecake topping and think it will look so pretty on the dessert table but the bars will bake up just fine without it. After baking, be sure to refrigerate them for a couple hours and serve cold. Enjoy!!!

Lightened-Up Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

  • Yield: 12 squares
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 cinnamon graham crackers
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F

  2. In a food processor, chop/grind graham crackers into fine crumbs.

  3. Add melted butter and applesauce mix until combined.

  4. Pour into a well greased 9x9 dish and firmly press the crumbs into an even layer.*

  5. Using the food processor again, beat/puree pumpkin, eggs, and sugar until smooth.

  6. Add spices and flour and mix well.

  7. Pour pumpkin mixture over graham cracker layer, gently smoothing flat.

  8. Give the food processor a quick rinse, then add cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, and starch and beat until smooth.

  9. Drop in large spoonfuls over pumpkin layer.

  10. Using a knife, gently swirl the cheesecake layer.

  11. Lightly cover with a layer of foil and bake for 40 minutes.

  12. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

  13. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

  14. Refrigerate before serving and any leftovers.

Notes

* I found that dampening my hands with water helped this process greatly.

Nutrition Facts Servings 12.0 Amount Per Serving 1 Square Calories 203 Total Fat 8g Saturated Fat 4g Monounsaturated Fat 2g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 48mg Sodium 170mg Potassium 45mg Total Carbohydrate 29g Dietary Fiber 2g Sugars 17g Protein 4g

 

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