Creamy Choco-Pumpkin Bars
Halloween is just around the corner. That means decorations are going up! We always wait until the morning of October 31st to put up the outside decorations. That way, they will be a surprise for the neighbors. But the inside of my house is getting a spookier and spookier!
Everyday, a new ghoul or goblin makes it's appearance! Eeee-hee-hee-hee-hee-heeee! That's my best witchy laugh, if you couldn't tell. *wink*
The Halloween menu is still in the works. It's always a balancing act to come up with a glorious array of sweet and savory items--some heavily decorated and some that just taste great!
I go a little crazy this time of year with pumpkin treats. There's such a small window of opportunity to go overboard on pumpkin without getting a cock-eyed look! You know what I mean--try pulling out a pumpkin pie July 4th and see what happens! So clearly, I feel a certain urgency to serve pumpkin as often as possible!
These little beauties are the perfect blend of comfort and sophistication. They combine the soothing effects of cream cheese, graham crackers, and chocolate with Bourbon, Chinese Five Spice, and ultra creamy Creme Fraiche. Oh yes...and pumpkin! The result is a decedent treat to satisfy the young and old. The bourbon and five spice deliver depth a distinguished palette can appreciate, but THAT won't stop the ankle-biters from gobbling them down, so set some aside.
This is a very easy recipe to pull together. Just allow plenty of time for cooling before you try to cut the bars!
Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.
Creamy Choco-Pumpkin Bars
2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
2- 8 oz. packages cream cheese
7 oz. Crème Fraiche
¾ cup sugar
15 oz. can pumpkin puree
¼ cup flour
1 tsp. Chinese five spice powder (or pumpkin pie spice)
½ sp. salt
2 Tb. Bourbon
12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large 10x15 inch pan with foil.
Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar, salt, and melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan.
Beat the cream cheese, Crème Fraiche and sugar together until smooth. Add the pumpkin, flour, five spice, salt, bourbon and eggs. Blend until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips, reserving a handful for the top.
Pour the mixture on top of the graham cracker crust. Smooth out with a spatula. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on top. Smack the pan on the counter a couple times to smooth everything out.
Bake for 35-40 minutes—until the center is almost set, but still jiggles a little.
Cool on a rack for one hour, then refrigerate another hour before cutting. To serve: pull the foil up on the sides and lift the whole pan of pumpkin bars out of the baking dish. Peel the foil off the sides carefully, then slice into desired size. Wipe the knife with a paper towel occasionally to keep the sides smooth. Makes 32 regular-sized bars.
Refrigerate until ready to serve!