Pumpkin Cheesecake Spice Bars

Last night, while reading the October issue of Food & Wine, I came across an interview with Alexis Swanson Traina of Swanson Vineyards. After pausing for a second to think about fine wine and TV dinner pairings, I continued on with the article. Alexis, who seems like a neat person, says that some of her friends keep “prop closets”. That is, rooms where they store all their party gear. Suddenly, the idea of buying a few new seasonal plates to use for Cookie Madness photos didn’t seem too extravagant. So here’s a photo of today’s cookie on one of the new plates I purchased specifically for Fallish cookie photos. Oh, and I’m turning my former junk room into a prop closet.

Along with pumpkin, Pumpkin Cheesecake Spice Bars contain a few other special ingredients – pecans, cream cheese and brown sugar. They taste pretty good at room temperature, but REALLY good after they’ve chilled for 2 hours.

pumpkin cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake Spice Bars

Crust & Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
Slightly rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 lightly beaten eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with non-stick foil.

In a mixing bowl or food processor, combine flour, brown sugar and salt. Add butter and cut or pulse until mixture is very crumbly. Stir in pecans. Measure out 3/4 cup mixture for topping, then press remaining mixture into bottom of pan. Bake for 13-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s time to take it out because it will smell really good.

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, granulated sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla; Stir, do not beat, in the eggs. Pour over crust and sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until top is brown.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Lift from pan by grasping foil. Lay on a cutting board and score into bars.

These may be served room temperature or chilled

Yield: 8 inch pan

With such a small amount of pecans, you might want to toast them in the microwave. Spread pecan halves on a paper towel and microwave chopped pecans for 2 minutes or until they start to shine and release their oils. Let them cool, then chop.

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  1. says

    I have to confess I’ve spent quite a bit of money on various plates and things! It’s kind of fun to find them in secondhand stores. Love the color of this plate.

  2. says

    You know, if it wasn’t 90 degrees and all kinds of humid today, I would feel like fall looking at these bars! Sigh. I’ll just look at the picture and *wish* it was in the 70s. 🙂


  3. says

    I LOVE anything with pumpkin. I’m printing this out now for my “to try” pile. YUMMM!!
    I pick up things at yard sales and junk shops. I have a great old tin cake carrier that I got for a steal.

  4. Chris says

    I made these last night for a dinner party and they were a hit. I also made the Nanaimo bars with ganache instead of the regular chocolate topping, and I like them much better the new way.

  5. says

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the feedback on the pumpkin bars. I actually froze some of mine and am going to see how that worked out this week, so I’ll let you know.

    Next time I make Nanaimo bars, I will make them with ganache too. I kind of want to make them with a more brownie-like base, but if I keep making too many changes they won’t actually be Nanaimo bars!

  6. shoyski says


    I’ll have to grab a copy of October’s Food and Wine. My FIL purchases a bottle of Alexis for me every year and it’s in my top 10 favorites!
    I can’t even find it around where I live.

    Those pumpkin bars look great. I always need help finishing up the can of pumpkin I use each week for pumpkin waffles. 🙂

  7. says

    Megan, that casserole on your blog looks delicious.

    “Shoyski” I want to try the wine too. I am not sure if they sell it around here, though.

  8. cookiechick says

    Hello Anna! First time ever leaving a message on a blog! Discovered your website last week while getting to know our new computer (note: Milk does not do a laptop good!), and I love your site! Thank you for sharing the passion you have, and it’s so cool that you bake everyday like I love to! I have been testing recipes since ’99 for Elinor Klivan’s books, that has been wonderful! Do you have “Fearless Baking” from her? I have a never touched extra copy upstairs, and would adore sending it to you (do you have a p.o. box you could share – guessing you don’t want to publish home address – understandable!) Think about it!
    I made these bars last night, had to leave out the nuts, though – girlfriend is allergic, but I knew she’d love ’em and she did! Pumpkin Boost Bars is what I’ll call them, because she needed a lift from a friend and it worked!
    Keep up the fabulous typing and photo taking and Fuzz mommying! – dawn 🙂

  9. Heidi says

    I made these in an 8 x 10 rectangle pan, I put all the topping and filling on the bottom, then added a table spoon of whipping cream and doubled the pumpkin and eggs and spices. Then I baked it until the pumpkin was half cooked, added sliced apples to the top and then threw on an apple crisp top with oatmeal. Baked it for another 30 min and It was a HUGE hit. Thanks for the recipe.

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