I’m going to go on record right now and state that I am NOT a baker.
I can’t ever manage to follow a recipe, I hate messes on my counters, despise assembling my bazillion pound kitchen aide (which obviously I’m inclined to use when I do have something to bake, seeing as how I couldn’t live without one.. but have used it less than a handful of times in the 9+ years I’ve owned it.) – All to result in my hard efforts tasting like nothing but flour.
Luckily, I’m more of an after dinner libations gal than a dessert feign.
You know what I am a feign for though?
While I’ve been listening to Christmas music since early October, and had my house decorated since November 1st.. Thanksgiving is the OFFICIAL start to the Christmas season, making it my absolute favorite holiday. It’s now socially acceptable to deck my halls with bows of holly, and jingle all the way to wherever the hell I’m going.
I’m mostly kidding… I have no shame in celebrating early, and there is way more to my love of Thanksgiving Day.
The Macy’s Parade, the mass quantities of all the starchiest and carbiest foods, the endless pouring of festive drinks, the quality time spent with family, the sometimes disappointing Chicago Bears game, laughter, and the black Friday deals.
Just writing all the wonders of this magical day down gets me so excited I can hardly contain myself.
The older my daughter gets.. the more I’m realizing that all the little traditions that may go overlooked while they’re happening, turn into really fond memories for her to look back on. So, it’s been increasingly important that I start creating holiday rituals for us.
Hence the wild hair to bake these pecan pie cheesecake bars.
I was scrolling through Pinterest and found a fairly straightforward recipe for these bars, and decided to give it a shot. I have very little faith in my baking abilities—call it PTSD from past baking attempts. But, the recipe required no flour, and I was intrigued. I live in a household of cheesecake lovers, while I am strongly committed to my relationship with pecan pie and this seemed like the perfect merge.
So, we gathered the ingredients and were off to the races.
This recipe is broken down into 3 super easy layers of buttery bliss.. and it was incredibly easy to follow along with. While you’ll want a food processor and a stand mixer.. it wasn’t a hassle, and the prep time is super minimal. The most annoying part of this whole process was having to wait 4+ hours for them to cool completely before we dove in. I’d be lying if I told you that we actually waited out the 4 hours before testing them… But they were better the next day, after sitting in the fridge all night, so I will tell you that it is totally worth the wait.
These bars are chewy yet velvety, sweet, but not overly.
In the words of Chandler Bing-they’re perfection.
While I consider myself a lover of all things cheese, cheesecake does little for me. Next time I make these, (Yes, there is going to be a next time) I’d much prefer to double the pecan layers, or possibly switch out the layer of cheesecake for a layer of sugar cookie. Despite my lack of desire of cheesecake, these really are amazing and they’d make a great addition to any holiday gathering. I’ve gotten SO many compliments on them, and have been asked to make them again!
Give them a try, and let me know what you think!
Happy Holidays, everyone.
Here’s what you’ll need:
2 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (about 18 full sheets)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 melted butter
2 (8 oz) packages softened cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
PECAN PIE LAYER:
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13” baking pan with parchment paper.
**I’d recommend spraying a little cooking spray on the paper to eliminate extra stick.
- Pulse graham crackers and sugar in a food processor until combined into fine crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse again until combined. Transfer into baking dish and press firmly into an even, flat layer.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla and beat again. **Important to beat cream cheese first, to remove any clumps. I didn’t do this, and it’s evident in my results.
- Pour mixture over graham cracker crust
PECAN PIE LAYER:
- In a medium saucepan, heat brown sugar, corn syrup. cream, butter and salt over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is at a boil. Continue to boil for 1 minute, stirring consistently, then remove from heat and immediately add pecans and vanilla.
2. Let pecan pie filling cool slightly before spooning onto cheesecake layer in pan. **This is super important for the overall appearance. Go slow, and spoon as evenly and as lightly as possible or this filling will sink into cheesecake layer.
3. Bake pan for 35 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Transfer pan into refrigerator for 4-24 hours to chill.