Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

These salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake bars are the PERFECT fall dessert. From their crunchy ginger biscuit crust to the creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling, the textures and flavours are simply divine. And let’s not forget the luxurious salted caramel layer, which takes this pumpkin dessert to a whole new level.

A salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake bar on a white dessert plate. A bite is being taken out of the bar with a fork. More cheesecake bars are in the background.

I’ll give you a moment or two to process the amount of sheer deliciousness contained within these pumpkin cheesecake bars.

There’s the crunchy ginger biscuit base. The creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling, full of pumpkin and sugar and spice… and everything nice. (Yes, I absolutely had to go there.) And – the finishing touch that takes this fall dessert from amazing to earth-shatteringly delicious – a luscious salted caramel layer on top.

If there’s one dessert that encompasses everything good and delicious about the fall season, it’s these cheesecake bars.

Three salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake bars on a white backdrop.

There’s something remarkably comforting and indulgent about these bars. And while both the crust and the filling are absolutely delicious, and the cheesecake bars would be amazing even with just those two elements… it’s the caramel layer that truly completes this decadent dessert.

To really emphasise the fall vibes, I’ve taken the salted caramel sauce a shade darker than usual. This gives it a much richer taste, and also reduces the sweetness by bringing the dark caramel notes into the foreground.

What’s more, the darker caramel creates a nice visual contrast to the pale yellowish-orange pumpkin cheesecake filling, giving the overall dessert the colour palette of a late fall forest canopy. Which is rather fitting, wouldn’t you say?

A salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake bar on a white dessert plate. A bite has been taken out of the bar with a fork.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful cheesecake bars – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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How do you make the cheesecake base?

There are no surprises or complications when it comes to the base of these pumpkin cheesecake bars. Just good ol’ crushed cookies, mixed together with some melted butter, pressed into a lined baking tin and baked at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 8 – 10 minutes.

Now, because these are pumpkin cheesecake bars and they’re chock-full of all the delicious fall spices, I’ve chosen gingernut biscuits for the cheesecake base. (Also known as ginger biscuits, ginger cookies or gingersnap cookies.) The slight heat from the biscuits pairs wonderfully with the pumpkin filling, and I’ll never say no to more ginger in my desserts.

Of course, you can totally choose your favourite cookies for the base – from the “traditional” graham crackers to Biscoff cookies, there are no wrong answers here. And if you choose gluten free cookies for the cookie crumb crust (like I did here), you can make gluten free pumpkin cheesecake bars!

How do you make the pumpkin cheesecake filling?

The filling for these salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake bars is basically your standard cheesecake recipe, with pumpkin puree and a whole lotta delicious spices added.

The other ingredient quantities are of course slightly adjusted to account for the extra moisture added in the form of the pumpkin puree – to give you the creamiest cheesecake texture possible, and ensure the bars can be cut into neat little squares.

The ingredients for the pumpkin cheesecake filling are:

  • cream cheese
  • pumpkin puree
  • light brown sugar (for caramel undertones that work beautifully together with the spices)
  • sour cream or yogurt
  • a few eggs
  • a tablespoon or two of cornstarch (to counteract the additional moisture)
  • a pinch of salt
  • as much cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves as your fall-loving heart desires

(For the full recipe, including the ingredient quantities, scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

And to make the pumpkin cheesecake filling, all you need to do is:

  1. mix all the ingredients together until smooth,
  2. pour them over the baked cheesecake base,
  3. and bake!

Of course, then comes the tedious task of having to chill the baked cheesecake, pour over the salted caramel sauce and chill everything some more… All this waiting in the face of such deliciousness takes unimaginable amounts of self-restraint, but it’s worth it and I believe in you. Hang in there.

A salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake bar on a white dessert plate. A bite has been taken out of the bar with a fork. More cheesecake bars are in the background.

How long do you bake the pumpkin cheesecake bars?

To prevent the surface of the cheesecake from cracking and guarantee the perfect creamy texture, slow and steady wins the pumpkin cheesecake game.

More specifically, if you’re using an 8×8 inch (20×20 cm) baking tin as I do below, the pumpkin cheesecake bars are baked perfectly at 320 ºF (160 ºC) for about 1 hour.

While many people swear by water baths when baking cheesecakes, you don’t need a water bath for baking these pumpkin cheesecake bars. You also don’t need to cool them in the oven – the kitchen counter is perfectly okay.

What’s the easiest way to cut cheesecake bars?

To cut neat slices, I definitely recommend you properly chill the pumpkin cheesecake bars for at least a few hours, but preferably overnight.

If you decide not to top them with salted caramel sauce (why on Earth would you do that?!?!), you can easily cut them after an hour or so in the fridge, but if you include the caramel layer, overnight refrigeration is crucial as it allows the caramel to set and achieve the perfect texture.

Furthermore, use a slightly greased knife – use a neutral, flavourless oil like vegetable or sunflower oil. This will prevent the caramel from sticking to the knife and making a mess.

Although… any mess that includes salted caramel is a (very) good mess, so don’t go stressing over imperfect slices. Considering (a) they’re OHMYGOSH SO AMAZING and (b) they’ll last all of 5 seconds after they’ve been cut – nobody will care if the bars are a bit uneven.

A salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake bar on a white dessert plate. A bite is being taken out of the bar with a fork. More cheesecake bars are in the background.

But that’s enough from me for now, friends. Although I could go on and on about how delicious and perfect these pumpkin cheesecake bars are… the proof is in making and devouring them.

So get baking, and thank me later.

Three salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake bars on a white backdrop. A bite has been taken out of one of the bars with a fork.

If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars (Gluten Free)

These salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake bars are the PERFECT fall dessert. From their crunchy ginger biscuit crust to the creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling, the textures and flavours are simply divine. And let’s not forget the luxurious salted caramel layer, which takes this pumpkin dessert to a whole new level.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten Free
Keyword cheesecake bars recipe, creamy cheesecake recipe, easy cheesecake recipe, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake bars, salted caramel sauce
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Chilling Time 8 hours
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 16 bars

Ingredients

For crushed cookie crust:

  • 1 3/4 cup (200 g) gingernut cookie crumbs (gluten free if necessary, you can also use graham crackers, Biscoff biscuits or other cookies of choice)
  • 2/3 stick (80 g) unsalted butter, melted

For pumpkin cream cheese filling:

  • 15 3/4 oz (450 g) cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
  • 1 1/2 cup (300 g) pumpkin puree
  • 3 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/8 cup (225 g) light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp (60 g) sour cream or yogurt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of salt

For salted caramel sauce:

  • 3/4 cup (150 g) caster/superfine sugar
  • 1/2 stick (55 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp (100 mL) double/heavy cream
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

For crushed cookie crust:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) square baking tin with baking/greaseproof paper.

    You can scale up the recipe with no problems, but you will have to increase the baking time slightly.

  2. Mix together the gingernut cookie crumbs and melted butter, then press them into the lined baking tin to form a firm, even layer.

  3. Bake at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

For pumpkin cream cheese filling:

  1. Reduce the oven temperature to 320 ºF (160 ºC).

  2. Mix all the pumpkin cream cheese filling ingredients together until smooth, then transfer the filling on top of the baked crushed cookie crust.

  3. Bake at 320 ºF (160 ºC) for about 1 hour, or until the middle is still slightly wobbly when you shake the baking tin.

  4. Allow to cool at room temperature, then transfer into the fridge for at least 1 hour before pouring over the salted caramel sauce (see below).

For salted caramel sauce:

  1. In a pot or saucepan, melt the sugar on medium-high heat while constantly stirring, until it is a deep amber colour.

  2. Add the butter, and mix well until the butter has melted and is fully incorporated into the caramel. (Be careful, as the caramel can bubble strongly on the addition of butter!)

    Allow to cook for 2 - 3 minutes.

  3. Add the double/heavy cream in a slow stream, all the while mixing vigorously. (Be careful, as the caramel can bubble strongly and release steam on the addition of double cream!)

  4. Add the salt and allow the salted caramel to cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat and allow to cool until warm. 

  5. Pour the warm salted caramel over the chilled cheesecake bars, and return them to the fridge to chill for a minimum of 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Serving:

  1. I recommend cutting the cheesecake bars directly out of the fridge, with a lightly greased knife to prevent the caramel from sticking.

Storage:

  1. The salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake bars keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 - 5 days.

Looking for more delicious pumpkin recipes?
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