Low-Carb Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake Bars with Chinese Five-Spice

by Karen FrazierPumpkin cheesecake bars

I used to bake all the time. Since we’ve been on the whole paleo/low-carb diet, however, baking has gone by the wayside. Not because there aren’t good paleo and low-carb baking recipes out there, but just because I don’t really see the need to have a lot of tempting desserts around the house. If they’re there, I’ll eat them.

However, today is Jim’s birthday. He used to love my Pumpkin and Caramel Whiskey Cheesecake with Chinese Five-Spice. He has been expressing sadness that he can never, ever have that again. So I decided to do a little adaptation. While I couldn’t find a way to make it paleo, I did find a way to make it low-carb. So here is the recipe with a low-carb makeover.

For the crust

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup Swerve sweetener or Truvia
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Swerve sweetener or Truvia
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For the topping

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Swerve sweetener or Truvia
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon

For the pecans

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1/2 cup Swerve sweetener or Truvia

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  3. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a saute pan over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally. When the butter begins to brown and smells slightly toasty, remove from heat and cool.
  4. Combine remaining crust ingredients in a food processor, pulsing for 10 one second pulses until fine crumbs form.
  5. Add butter to crust and pulse for five one second pulses.
  6. Press crust into bottom of prepared pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.
  7. Combine all filling ingredients in a large food processor. Process until well combined, scraping sides down occasionally.
  8. Pour filling over crust, using a rubber spatula to spread it evenly.
  9. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes, until the center sets.
  10. Cool on a wire rack for five minutes. Leave the oven on.
  11. Meanwhile, combine the topping ingredients, whisking to combine.
  12. Spread over the bars and return to oven. Bake an additional five minutes.
  13. Cool for two hours on a wire rack and then refrigerate for three hours. Top with spiced pecans (below).
  14. For pecans, melt butter over medium heat in a saute pan.
  15. Add pecans and cook, stirring, until they smell toasty, about five minutes.
  16. In a small bowl, combine sweetener, cinnamon, and five spice powder.
  17. Toss hot pecans in sweetener mixture.
  18. Use the pecans to garnish top of the bars.

photo credit: Pumpkin Cheesecake Bite via photopin (license)

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Whiskey and Chinese Five Spice Pecans

pumpkin cheesecake with sour cream topping Jim’s favorite dessert in the entire world is cheesecake. Several years ago, I baked Gourmet Magazine’s Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake, and it instantly became his new favorite. Over the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe little by little until it has taken its present (delicious) form.

For the crust

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about five graham crackers – use S’moreables gluten-free graham style crackers for GF)
  • 1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounces),  finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon caramel whiskey (Black Velvet or other)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For the topping

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Black Velvet caramel whiskey

For the pecans

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter a 9″ spring form pan.
  3. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a saute pan over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally. When the butter begins to brown and smells slightly toasty, remove from heat and cool.
  4. Combine remaining crust ingredients in a food processor, pulsing for 10 one second pulses until fine crumbs form.
  5. Add butter to crust and pulse for five one second pulses.
  6. Press crust into bottom of prepared pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.
  7. Combine all filling ingredients in a large food processor. Process until well combined, scraping sides down occasionally.
  8. Pour filling over crust. Tap pan lightly against counter to remove air pockets.
  9. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any leaks. Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes, until sides are set but middle still slightly jiggles.
  10. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for five minutes. Leave oven on.
  11. Meanwhile, combine topping ingredients, whisking to combine.
  12. Spread over cheesecake and return to oven. Bake an additional five minutes.
  13. Cool for two hours on a wire rack and then refrigerate for three hours before umolding. Top with spiced pecans (below).
  14. For pecans, melt butter over medium heat in a saute pan.
  15. Add pecans and cook, stirring, until they smell toasty, about five minutes.
  16. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and five spice powder.
  17. Toss hot pecans in sugar mixture.
  18. Use pecans to garnish top of the cheesecake.