An adorable fall dessert, pumpkin cheesecake bars in jars are the perfect thing to serve a crowd, or even just a party of two.
I don’t bake desserts very often anymore, as you might have noticed by my posts. With just two to feed, it’s dangerous to make a whole pie, or an entire batch of cookies or brownies, or — my sweet-tooth-will-power downfall — a full size cake.
Even when a recipe is easy to divide in half, I usually lack the smaller pan to bake it up. And even when a recipe is easy to divide in half, ingredient-wise, the effort is the same (e.g., dividing eggs, whipping up egg whites, folding in this, that, and the other thing). All-in-all, fudging small batches of full-sized yummies is more aggravation than they’re worth.
That’s why I fell in love with desserts in jars: piecemeal assembly and baking in individual containers means they’re small-batch friendly.
Plus, they’re just so dang cute. Meet pumpkin cheesecake bars … in a jar.
I’m also going through an odd phase where I just don’t want to fire up machine after machine to make desserts. The food processor is a godsend for mixing up the chocolate graham cracker pecan crust — make no mistake about that — but I love that the pumpkin cheesecake portion of the recipe can be pulled together by hand with a bowl and a whisk.
These adorable little 7 ounce Weck jars make the perfect portions for these pumpkin cheesecake bars. And so another thing I love about desserts in jars: it curbs the temptation to cut yourself a larger slice, and it seems almost piggy to eat two in one sitting.
Oh! And if you’d like a quick tutorial on DIYing fresh and oh-so-easy homemade pumpkin puree, check out my article on Honest Cooking.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Pumpkin cheesecake bars in jars
for the crust
- 8 sheets chocolate graham crackers
- 1/2 cup raw pecans
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
for the filling
- 8 oz package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 2 tablespoons turbinado or dark brown sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree*
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon allspice
- 6-10 grates from a whole a nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Special equipment: 6 each 6-ounce to 8-ounce glass canning jars (whatever jars you choose they need to withstand the heat of an oven.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- For the crust: roughly crumble the graham crackers into the bowl of a food processor. Add the pecans and process until coarse. Pour in the melted butter and pulse until medium-fine. Spoon into the jars, pressing firmly on the bottoms and part way up the sides, leaving a hollow for the filling.
- For the filling: combine the cream cheese, sugars and bourbon in a large bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. Add the pumpkin and egg and whisk well to combine. Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt.
- Spoon the filling into the jars, leaving 1/4" space at the top of the jar.
- Line the bottom of a baking dish with a washcloth and fill with 1/2" water.** Place the filled jars in the water bath, on the washcloth (which will keep the jars from sliding around the dish), spaced a couple of inches apart. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the jars from the dish and place on a heat-safe, dry surface (a dry towel works great) and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with whipped cream.