I woke up this morning knowing I wanted to make something with cream cheese swirled through it. The problem was, I couldn’t choose a recipe. After looking through a bunch and reading reviews, I decided to go with Swirled Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars from Sunset.
With only 6 tablespoons of butter, the bars were moist and cakey and stiff enough so that you could stack them. I liked that the pumpkin batter wasn’t too rich because the cream cheese topping balanced it out.
I modified the recipe a bit by using unsalted butter, adding salt, and a bit of vanilla. If you have some, a bit of orange peel added to the pumpkin might be good as well. Also, if you need to halve this recipe, a 9×9 inch pan works perfectly.
NOTE: If you do not use the pan size indicated (15×10 or half batch in a 9×9), you will probably need to adjust bake time! For instance, if you use a 13×9 inch pan instead of a 15×10 inch pan, you’ll have thicker bars which will probably need more time in the oven.
- 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (288 grams)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (240 grams)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (220 grams)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (48 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15×10 inch pan with non-stick foil or just spray with cooking spray.
- Pumpkin Batter: Mix together the butter and sugar. With a mixing spoon or whisk, beat in eggs, pumpkin, and water until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg together; stir into batter. Spread all but a few tablespoons batter evenly in prepared pan. Reserve the few tablespoons of batter
- Swirl: In a second bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add egg and beat just until it’s mixed in. Drop tablespoons of cheese mixture over pumpkin batter, then drag a knife through to make marbles. Drop reserved tablespoons of pumpkin batter over top. The reason for this is, there’s a lot of white batter, so putting a few tablespoons of pumpkin batter on top gives more of a contrast.
- Bake on center rack until pumpkin batter springs back when touched, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan, then chill for an hour or more. Cut into 24 bars.