For the third year in a row, these Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bars with Caramel Streusel will be making an appearance at the Thanksgiving table.
Not going to lie, when I posted this recipe 2 years ago ON Thanksgiving Day, I literally threw everything together that morning hoping and praying that it would turn into something edible to bring to my Aunt’s house that afternoon. They ended up being the perfect dessert for a novice baker!
I’m a pumpkin pie lover with an affinity for cheesecake, but I’m certainly not a pie maker, and I struggle at times in the cheesecake-making department. The good news is that these easy-to-make bars offer a little of both worlds with a crumbly graham cracker crust, a luscious cheesecake layer topped with a blanket of rich pumpkin pie filling, and an oat streusel topping with a drizzle of caramel sauce.
These bars are what I like to call a “lightened up” dessert. The ingredients aren’t exactly wholesome and healthy, but I’ve used lighter ingredients such as light cream cheese instead of regular, egg whites instead of whole eggs, and I’ve cut down on the sugar quite a bit. But don’t worry; there is still plenty of sweetness to satisfy your dessert craving.
Some of that sweetness comes from the caramel topping. I will leave the type of caramel sauce up to you. If you want to melt a bunch of caramel candies down to make a sauce, go for it! A jarred, store-bought variety would be a nice, convenient option. Or you could make a quick caramel sauce like I did. I followed the instructions from this bread pudding recipe. This vegan date caramel is another great option! You could also skip the caramel sauce altogether and still have a perfectly delightful Thanksgiving pie-like dessert!
To sum things up, these Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bars are a Thanksgiving dessert trifecta: Pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and a bar all rolled into one! And with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top, you’ve got yourself one sweet ending to Thanksgiving dinner.
- 9 graham cracker sheets, crushed
- 4 tablespoons Butter
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
- ¼ cup Sugar
- ⅓ cup egg whites
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
- ⅓ cup egg whites
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup milk of choice
- ½ tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup oats
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ⅓ cup caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought
- Prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the graham cracker crumbs until the mixture is crumbly. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13, greased pan.
- Prepare the cheesecake layer: In a large mixing bowl, combine all the cheesecake ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Drizzle the mixture over the graham cracker crust and use a spatula to gently spread the mixture, fully covering the crust.
- Prepare the pumpkin pie layer: In a large bowl, combine all the pumpkin pie ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over the cheesecake layer. Use a butter knife or spatula to spread the mixture evenly. It's ok if the pumpkin and cheesecake layers combine a bit.
- Prepare the streusel: In a small bowl, combine the streusel ingredients. Sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin pie layer.
- Bake: Bake the bars in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the bars. Let the bars fully cool before cutting and serving.