A common misconception about Thanksgiving is that the defining element of this great American holiday—aside from the "giving thanks" part (and the sweet potato casserole )—is the turkey.
This is wrong—everyone knows the most important part about Thanksgiving is having a killer dessert. These bars are just that: they combine the fall flavors of pumpkin pie, the creaminess of cheesecake, AND the warm, buttery topping of apple crumble all in one kickass recipe.
Whether you make these bars simply for the Instagram photo or to keep your family from fighting about what the best Thanksgiving dessert is, I guarantee they'll be a hit.
Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease a 9x13' inch pan. Assemble the "wet" ingredients needed to make the pumpkin filling: 2 sticks butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 egg, and 1 cup pumpkin puree.
Using an electric mixer on "low" (or a whisk, if you're in it for the biceps), beat the butter until it's light and creamy.
Add in the brown sugar and vanilla. Make sure to use a spatula to scrape down your bowl a few times to get everything nicely combined.
Beat in your egg. Do this carefully, unless you enjoy scraping raw egg off your countertop.
Mix in the pumpkin puree until the batter is a *spooky* orange color. Set this pumpkin batter aside.
In a new bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and all of your spices (ginger, etc.).
#SpoonTip: Use a fork (rather than an electric mixer) to combine these ingredients in order to avoid spills!
Slowly add the flour mixture—about 1/4 of it at a time—to the pumpkin batter. It should resemble a light orange dough. Set this dough aside.
Now it's time to make the cheesecake. In a new bowl (I really hope you have a dishwasher.), beat the 8 oz of cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Add in 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to your cheesecake mixture. It should resemble a smooth, cream-colored batter.
Spread about 1/2 of the pumpkin dough into your greased pan. Spoon the cheesecake filling on top of that. Then, spoon the rest of the pumpkin dough in small globs on top of the cheesecake layer.
#SpoonTip: To ensure extra #aesthetic bars, be sure you can still see the cheesecake layer even after you've added the rest of the pumpkin!
Using a fork, swirl the cheesecake layer and the pumpkin dough together. Put it in the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes.
While the bars are cooking, you'll need to make the crumb topping. In another bowl (I know, I know), combine 1/2 a stick of butter, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of flour. It should have a shortbread-like texture.
Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or more, if you'd like) to the mixture, along with 1/4 cup of oats. The crumble should be relatively dry, but still soft enough to form small crumbs.
After the bars have cooked for about 15 minutes, take them out. The top should be soft enough for us to add the crumble.
After adding the crumble, let the bars cook for another 20-25 minutes (35-40 minutes cooking total), or until the crumble is golden-brown. Take out, and admire your handiwork.
Let the bars cool at room temperature for at least 3 hours. After those 3 torturous hours, you can finally EAT THAT SH*T!
#SpoonTip: Save a little bit of crumble to eat during those 3 terrible hours.