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Sweet Potato Cheesecake Bars

The great Thanksgiving Dessert Debate:  Pumpkin vs Sweet Potato

I think that deep down, I'll always be a pumpkin pie girl.   My mom used to make amazing pumpkin pies every fall (if you call 85 degrees a real fall season), so they have a special place in my heart. Plus, I just devoured that pumpkin cake that I posted last week, but ever since moving to the South my love for all things sweet potato has grown exponentially.  

Which brings me to these amazing sweet potato cheesecake bars.  I made them for a Thanksgiving potluck and they were a hit!  The original recipe by Heather of Sprinkle Bakes called for pecans, but I opted to leave them out because I didn't know if anyone had a nut allergy.  But if you and your family love pecans, then by all means, add the pecans to the topping.  

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I heard a lot of people say that they're afraid to make a cheesecake, and if you're one of these people then this recipe is the perfect first step for you. You'll love it because it's super simple - there's no water bath involved and you don't have to bother with a springform pan.  For those of you who've already tackled cheesecake, you'll enjoy how easy it is.   On top of all of that, this recipe is full of flavor, from the gingersnap crust to the rich, cinnamon-y (yes, cinnamony-y - I use that adjective all the time) cheesecake batter.  Plus, you can assuage the guilt surrounding your holiday indulgenc by reminding yourself that these bars are chocked full of sweet potatoes!

This recipe is definitely going to be on my Thanksgiving table for years to come.  

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Check out that crust! Just mix the crushed gingersnaps with melted butter and voilà, magic.

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Make sure that ou smooth out the batter really well before baking it so that you can avoid cracks.

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Sweet Potato Cheesecake Bars
Yield: 15-20 bars
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
Prep 25 minutes, 6 hours 25 minutes with chilling

For the Crust
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted


For the Filling
3 packages/24 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
15 oz. sweet potato puree* (canned, packed sweet potato is fine if you don't have fresh ones)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs


For the Topping
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Pinch of sea salt

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. For the crust, combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl. Stir until crumbs are evenly moist and covered in butter. Press into the bottom of a lightly buttered 10x10 or 13x9-inch baking dish. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
  3. For the filling, combine the cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat well on medium speed with an electric hand mixer. Add the pumpkin, flour, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; mix well. Add vanilla and eggs and beat on low speed until just combined.  Pour filling over chilled crust.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes. You'll know that it's done when the center of the cheesecake will be almost set but still have a slight wobble. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill for 6 hours or overnight. Cut cheesecake into bars.  You'll probably get between 15-20 pieces.
  5. For the topping, melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine. When sugar is almost completely melted whisk in the milk; stir until smooth. Stir in sea salt (this is where you can add the pecans if you wish). Let cool slightly before pouring over bars. 

* To puree the sweet potatoes: boil sweet potatoes until they are tender.  Drain and puree in a food processor.  

 

Stay sweet,

Randi