This dessert combines dark chocolate, delicious pumpkin (or sweet potato), and cream cheese – and two of these ingredients (pumpkin & cream cheese) are part of the Improv Cooking Challenge, now hosted by Kristen!
While the ingredient list looks overwhelming, it’s not. Plus, Hostess with the Mostess had great directions & photos to help. Mine don’t even come close to comparing to hers, but, we did make some healthier tweaks in our recipe. Because, you know, a dessert made from vegetables is healthy, right?
Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares – Adapted from Hostess w/the Mostess
- 1 pkg. graham crackers
- 1-2 T sugar
- 1/3 C butter, melted
- 12 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
- 1 1/4 C sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 C sweet potato (or pumpkin puree)
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ginger
- 6 oz dark chocolate chips
- 1 C sour cream
- 1/8 – 1/4 C sugar
Begin by preheating your oven to 325 degrees, and by pulling out a 9 x 13 baking dish. Lightly grease the dish.
Then, using a food processor, crush up the graham crackers until they are crumbs.
Next, combine those crumbs with 1-2 T sugar and 1/3 C melted butter. Mix until small clumps form.
Gently press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the 9x13 baking dish to form a crust layer. Then, set aside.
Up next, pull out a large bowl – preferably metal, or the bowl of your stand mixer. In that bowl, cream together the cream cheese and 1 1/4 C sugar.
Next, mix in the egg.
Then, mix in the 1 C pumpkin or sweet potato puree.
Add in the 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. each ginger & nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. vanilla and stir well to blend the flavors. If desired, add a pinch of salt.
Reserve 1 1/4 C of this mixture, and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a safe glass container, microwave the dark chocolate chips – SLOWLY – about 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each cooking interval.
When dark chocolate chips are melted, add the 1 1/4 C pumpkin mix to the chocolate.
Stir well to combine, and then carefully pour over the graham cracker crust.
Bake at 325 for 15 minutes.
When the chocolate layer and crust have cooked, remove from the oven. No need to allow it to cool before the next step.
Then, pour the remaining pumpkin mixture over the pre-baked chocolate layer.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until center is set.
Cool the dessert on a wire wrack for 30 minutes. At this point, after it was cooled I placed the dessert, covered, in the fridge overnight. I continued with the rest of the dessert the next day.
Continuing on, mix together 1 C sour cream along with 1/8 – 1/4 C sugar.
This was the part of the recipe that had me most concerned… sour cream?!?! Trust me, though – it’s great. Mix well.
Carefully spread the “frosting” layer over the top of your dessert.
Smooth out; then chill for 3 hours before slicing and serving.
If desired, garnish with shreds of dark chocolate or sprinkles of cinnamon/nutmeg.
Slice into 24 pieces; enjoy!