We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cookie Recipe #320 - Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

This could be the new addition to your Thanksgiving Feast. A mildly spicy pumpkin swirled along with the cream cheese mixture lying atop a gingersnap base leaves you wanting more.

Ingredients: 2 cups finely crushed gingersnaps (about 30 cookies), 1/4 cup butter, melted, 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, 3 eggs.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a small bowl combine gingersnaps and melted butter. Press mixture evenly into bottom of the prepared pan. Bake about 10 minutes or until crust is firm; cool.

Meanwhile, for pumpkin batter, in a medium bowl stir together pumpkin, flour, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

For cream cheese batter, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla, beating until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition on low speed just until combined. Stir one-third of the cream cheese batter (about 1 1/2 cups) into the pumpkin batter until smooth. Pour remaining cream cheese batter over crust, spreading evenly. Place large spoonfuls of pumpkin batter randomly over cream cheese batter. Using the tip of a table knife or a thin metal spatula, gently swirl the two batters together.

Bake for 25-30 minutes more or until center is just set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours before cutting into squares or bars.

Cover and store in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Makes 24 bars.

"Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies", Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, IA, 2003.

Cookies Rule!!!

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