Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Mmf pumpkins. They’re so hard to come by here, but now that I’ve gotten my hands on one, I’m making pumpkin flavored everything. Inspired by Pioneer Woman, I made my own pumpkin puree, based on this tutorial.  This week I’m thinking of making pumpkin cinnamon rolls or some pumpkin pretzels with cinnamon sugar. But this past week, I made pumpkin cheesecake bars with caramel. Normally on Thanksgiving I make an actual pumpkin cheesecake with pecan crust, but I’m a poor college student, so I had to work with the supplies I had. IMG_1567

So many things have happened since the last update! Denmark had the worst storm it’s had in 10 years. Roof tiles were flying away in 70 mph winds, people biking were blown into the street, and of course, classes were not cancelled. Most of us didn’t know that the storm was coming until the day of, and somehow I was lucky enough to miss the storm and make it home easily. Some people had to sleep at the school because all the trains were down by the time the storm quieted. IMG_1562

This past weekend, we celebrated Halloween and J-Dag. Unsurprisingly, Halloween is not huge here. I had a midterm the next day anyway, so I just popped into our kollegium bar for a hot sec. Three of my friends were dressed up as a widow, Tom Cruise in Risky Business, and a cat (with a group of other cats and a crazy cat lady). Two of my other friends and I weren’t wearing costumes, so we decided to say we were Indian Zooey Deschanel, a Dane, and a bum. Plus, one of my friend’s parents were visiting, and they brought American candy, which means my belly was full of Reeses. IMG_1564

The next day, we celebrated the Danish holiday, J-Dag, when Carlsberg releases their new Christmas beer. A truck with people dressed up as Santa and elves drove around and gave out free beer and hats to different pubs. By some stroke of luck, we ran into the truck almost immediately after we headed downtown. The “elves” emptied out of the truck and headed into a pub, and we followed. Some people stole two of our hats later in the night, but we had plenty of fun just dancing. It felt like the whole city was out for the party.

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Recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars (with Caramel!)

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter softened

Set the oven to 350 and grease a 13×9 inch pan. Mix the flour and brown sugar. Cut in the cold butter until the crust is nice and crumbly. Place in pan and smooth out along bottom and sides. Set in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes.

Pumpkin Cheesecake:

1 bar (8 oz) cream cheese

1 cup white sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

Cream sugar and cream cheese until nice and fluffy. Add in pumpkin puree, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Blend until well combined. Pour mixture into crust  and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheesecake doesn’t jiggle when you move it. Refrigerate and serve chilled (obviously).

Caramel:

Adapted from Food Network (can you tell I’m a fan of Pioneer Woman?)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup milk

4 tbsp butter

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium low heat until sauce starts to bubble and thicken. Stir gently, so as not to get sugar stuck to the side of the pan. Turn off the heat, and pour into separate container.
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