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[Photograph: Tina Rupp]

Finally, fall. Keep the taste spicy and the texture light with these cheesecake bars from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients. They're easy to make, and even easier to share. The filling is surprisingly fluffy and flavorful, with the classic tangy richness of cheesecake.

Tips: For a smooth, unblemished finish to your bars, make sure the cream cheese is thoroughly softened before beating. This means leaving packs out of the fridge for about an hour, or gently warming in the microwave for a few seconds. The same goes for the butter in the frosting. Once the bars are in the oven, watch for puffing around the edges and a jiggle in the middle. They finish faster than you'd think.

Tweaks: Regarding the frosting, 3 cups of confectioners' sugar to 8 ounces of cream cheese is a very sweet ratio. Add another 4 ounces of cream cheese or reduce the sugar by a cup for a more balanced topping. And the tiniest bit of orange zest wouldn't be amiss. A quarter teaspoon mixed into the frosting goes very well with the pumpkin. Toasting the nuts with a little cinnamon was a popular topping. If you don't have pecans, try walnuts.

Get the Recipe

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars »


As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of 'Baked Elements' to give away.

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