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First, you want to get your crust baked so it can cool down before you put the pumpkin filling on top.

You only need three ingredients: graham crackers, powdered sugar, and butter.

Blitz the graham crackers in a food processor. You don’t want to completely turn them into powder, just coarse but even crumbs. You can also do this by hand using the bottom of a glass to crush the crackers.

Place the cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and melted butter in a mixing bowl.

Mix everything together very well.

Place in a parchment-lined square baking pan and press the crust firmly into the bottom of the pan and partway up the sides.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 10–12 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Now it’s time to make the filling for these pumpkin cream cheese bars!

Here’s what you’ll need: powdered sugar, cream cheese, whipping cream, pumpkin puree, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and gelatin.

Start by “blooming” the gelatin: place some cold water in a small pan and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Set aside for 5–10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.

Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and spices. Beat well.

Heat the water/gelatin mixture over the stove until the gelatin completely dissolves.

Pour the gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture and beat well.

In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture in thirds.

Pour the pumpkin mixture over the completely cooled crust.

Spread it out evenly, cover with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge to set a bit.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese whipped cream.

Here’s what you’ll need: powdered sugar, cream cheese, and whipping cream.

First, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.

Next, gradually add the whipping cream, beating well. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Scoop the whipped cream on top of the pumpkin filling and smooth it out with an offset spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the fridge until set, about 4–6 hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle the top of the bars with toasted pecans if desired.

Here’s a quick tip: It’s easier to cut these pumpkin cream cheese bars if you remove them from the pan by grabbing the edges of the parchment paper and pulling them out.

This is what pumpkin dreams are made of!


So that’s my healthy-ish take on pumpkin cream cheese bars!

I’m curious: Are you like me and have a favorite childhood dessert that you still secretly adore?