Monday, October 26, 2015

Gingersnap Pumpkin Squares

 This is one of those recipes that I had tucked away, figuring I'd get around to trying it one day. It's a Taste of Home recipe, and it just sounded so good, I thought "ooo I should probably hold onto this one, say, for Halloween parties and such." Well, today's the day!!
 I recently invited some friends over for a Fall diner, just so I could test a few recipes. (Somehow I never seem to have any problems finding volunteers for taste testing.. lol) Anyway,  I made my Mom's Chicken Cutlets and tried a bunch of new side dishes. Everything turned out great! And this was one of the desserts I made. Since I had planned on making several different dishes, I knew I'd have to be careful about time management. In other words, I needed a dessert that I could make in advance, and this was the perfect choice. That's definitely the answer when you know you'll be doing a lot of cooking. If you can make anything ahead of time, do it!! I made it the night before, left it in the fridge to chill overnight, an then cut it into squares just before serving. Easy! It's crunchy and tasty on the top and bottom and creamy and rich in the middle, sort of like a pumpkin cheesecake kind of filling. Doesn't that sound awesome? I loved every bite!
 So be sure to add this one to your "easy-make ahead-Fall dinner-Halloween party-Thanksgiving dessert" repertoire. Your family and friends will devour them!

1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten 

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract 

1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup chopped pecans

     Set aside 3/4 cup cake mix for topping. In a small bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs and remaining cake mix; stir in butter and egg. Press onto the bottom of a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; set aside. 
     For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs. Beat in the pumpkin, milk, cinnamon and vanilla and mix well. Pour over crust. 
     For topping, in a small bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, sugar and reserved cake mix; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 325° for 70-75 minutes or until filling is set. Cool on a wire rack for 1-1/2 hours. Store in the refrigerator.

    As I always do, I lined my pan with parchment paper, leaving some to hang over the sides. Then, after it was baked and completely chilled, I used the paper as a sling to lift the entire batch out of the pan, and used a large knife to cut it into squares. You get perfectly clean cuts and you don't ruin your pan!
    When I served them, I cut them into 24 large squares, but you can stretch it further if you're making them for a party. They're thick enough and rich enough that you can cut them into 32 smaller squares.
     For an extra special presentation, place the squares on a big platter in one layer. Top each square with a swirl of whipped cream, then top each swirl with a ginger snap half, or just sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs. 

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