Pumpkin pie is definitely the highlight of the season for a lot of folks… I tend to agree and for this variation, I have added cream cheese for a cheesecake twist. Adding a little bourbon (because bourbon makes everything delicious), along with a ginger snap crust, really accentuates the warm spices of the season. Plus, the filling gets a nice tangy boost from the sour cream. These Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars have all the holiday pumpkin goodness that makes a great pie, but in a more user-friendly version perfect for passing or a holiday buffet.
Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Yield: makes 24 (2-inch) bars
For the crust:
1 3/4 cup crushed ginger snap cookies (7 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
3 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1 pinch salt
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 Tablespoons bourbon
1 can (15 oz.) solid packed pumpkin or 2 cups fresh pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups full-fat sour cream
Stabilize covered grill temperature for indirect cooking (no heat source under pan) to medium (350°F). Butter and a 9X13-inch baking pan. Line the bottom of pan with parchment, leaving extra along the long sides to help lift out the bars. Pulse the crushed gingersnaps and toasted pecans in a food processor into fine crumbs. Add brown sugar, salt, and butter and pulse until blended and crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake in/on your preheated grill for about 8 minutes. Remove and cool completely on wire racks.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and spices until just combined. Stir in pumpkin and sour cream until smooth. Pour over cooled crust and tap lightly on the counter to remove air bubbles.
Double-check your heat and place pan in/on grill over indirect heat (350°F) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until pumpkin has just set at the center; check at 20 minutes and turn pan front to back if necessary.
Cool completely on wire racks before cutting. Run a knife along the edge of the pan and use the parchment to lift bars out of pan and onto cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares. Bars may be kept in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to three days.